Student Art Work - Freedom Bus Project
Mobile Art Exhibit will be displayed on more than 
200 AC Transit Buses in the month of April


(see Viemo video at the bottom of the page or visit

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 Dept,

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. Gayle.


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



“She is a person that helped get the civil rights movement

started with Rosa Parks. She knew her rights because she

studied the constitution.”


“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 Toward Justice”


Artist Statement:


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 right.”

            -Claudette Colvin


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 Dept.



Amy Cheney, Librarian

Right to Read Literacy Program

Juvenile Justice Center, ACOE