Juvenile Justice Student
artwork was 1 of 4 chosen out of 30
to be part of the mobile art exhibit which will appear on more than 200
AC Transit buses in the month of April.
The Alameda County Office
of Education, Probation Department, Arts Commission and Library came together to create a collaborative learning
environment for our students.
Claudette Colvin was fifteen
years old and learning about her constitutional rights in school, when, on
March 2, 1955 she was arrested for refusing to give her seat to a white woman
on the segregated city bus. Her brave, spontaneous act laid the groundwork for
the Montgomery Bus Boycott and a year later she was instrumental in ending that
boycott by testifying as a key Plaintiff in the landmark bus case Browder V.
Claudette Colvin herself,
alive and in person, along with Awele Makeba, storyteller and teacher came here
to speak with over 150 youth in person at the Juvenile Justice Center on
Friday, February 4th through the Alameda County Library Write to Read program.
Alameda County Office of Education teacher Sonia Osborne in partnership with
Alameda County Arts Commission teacher Lilli Lanier had the 22 students
describe the steps they took in the “Claudette Colvin Project:"
1) “We looked at Claudette
Colvin’s book and talked about her life.
We wrote out facts about her life.”
2) “Next we did a charcoal
portrait of her where everyone shaded in a few squares using charcoal
pencils. Then we put them together
by number, like a puzzle to make up her face. It was amazing how it all came together. When I saw it, I couldn’t believe what
we had done!”
3) “We did another portrait
of Claudette Colvin using the image on the front of her book. This time we made it bigger and in
color and we used oil pastels.
This one used more artistic licence.”
4) ”On February 4th, we
went to the multi purpose room and got to meet Claudette Colvin. She came and visited us and talked
about her life and we showed her the art we made about her. She signed the artwork with her name.
She had a real sparkle and was fun to listen to.”
More Student Quotes:
“Claudette Colvin was a
teenager who stood up for her rights and for what was right.”
“A teenager can stand up
for what’s right and make a big difference.”
“She is a person that
helped get the civil rights movement started with Rosa Parks. She knew her rights because she studied
“She was sincere, had a
nice sense of humor and was a great samaritan and a leader who stuck up for
what’s right. She wasn’t scared to
step out of line.”
“I learned that you should
always stand up for your rights and that everyone deserves freedom, respect and
dignity no matter what color you are.”
“Shaking her hand was the
most memorable moment of the project to me. I touched a piece of history.”
“Thank you, Claudette
Colvin for spending the time to come visit us and speak to us and letting us
shake history’s hand. You are the
real Rosa Parks.”
“Thank you Claudette
Colvin for not giving up your seat on the bus and risking your freedom.”
Resources we used:
“Claudette Colvin: Twice
We are all male, ages
12-16. While working on this
project, we learned about the life and legacy of Claudette Colvin. We were honored to meet her on February
4, 2011 when she came to visit us and talk about her life. The process of learning about someone,
reading her book and creating a portrait of her out of love and respect was
unforgettable. The most memorable
moment was when we each got to shake her hand and touch a piece of
history. We learned that you
should think for yourself and always stand up for your rights and for what is
right. Thank you, Claudette
Colvin, for being brave and for helping get the civil rights movement started.”
“Stand up for what’s
Students were also given
signed copies of Phillip Hoose's multiple award winning book Claudette Colvin:
Twice Towards Justice.
Attached you will see the
two original art pieces along with a photo of Ms. Colvin and the signed piece
in the Juvenile Justice Center after her presentation.
Special thanks to Awele
Makeba, and as always, the Probation Department.