Civil Rights Activist Claudette Colvin

Civil Rights Activist Claudette Colvin

In February 2017, the City of Montgomery, Alabama passed a proclamation  naming March 2 “Claudette Colvin Day.”

Civil Rights Activist Claudette Colvin
A teenage Claudette Colvin refused to give up her bus seat to a white passenger during the segregation era in Montgomery, Ala. (Courtesy of Claudette Colvin)
Civil Rights Activist Claudette Colvin

15-year-old student

On March 2, 1955, Claudette Colvin was a 15-year-old student at Booker T. Washington High School in Montgomery, Alabama. Her family did not own a car, so she used buses to get back and forth to school.  Annie Larkins Price was a friend.

On their way home from school together that March day,  Price recalled, “The bus was getting crowded and I remember him (the bus driver) looking through the rear view mirror asking her to get up out of her seat, which she didn’t. She didn’t say anything. She just continued looking out the window. She decided on that day that she wasn’t going to move.

Other black passengers complied; Colvin ignored the driver. 

Civil Rights Activist Claudette Colvin

Police summoned

I’d moved for white people before,” Colvin says. But this time, she was thinking of the slavery fighters she had read about recently during Negro History Week in February. “The spirit of Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth was in me. I didn’t get up.”  “They dragged her off that bus,” said Price, who was sitting behind her classmate. “The rest of us stayed quiet. People were too scared to say anything.” Colvin screamed that her Constitutional rights were being violated. (Colvin arrest report)

We all know the name of Rosa Parks who also defied the Jim Crow laws separating Blacks and Whites throughout the United States. The Courts called it Separate but equal. We know Parks for her refusal to give up her seat and the resulting 381-day Montgomery bus boycott that followed under the leadership of the young Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

That was nine months later on December 1, 1955.

Civil Rights Activist Claudette Colvin

Browder v Gayle

In the meantime, court had ruled against Colvin and put her on probation.  She became one of the plaintiffs in the Browder v. Gayle case, along with Aurelia S. Browder, Susie McDonald, and Mary Louise Smith (Jeanatta Reese, who was initially named a plaintiff in the case, withdrew early on due to outside pressure).

On June 13, 1956, the federal court ruled that Montgomery’s segregated bus system was unconstitutional. In December 1956, the city of Montgomery passed an ordinance allowing any bus passenger to sit in any seat they chose to.

Two years later, Colvin moved to New York City, where she worked as a nurse’s aide at a Manhattan nursing home. She retired in 2004.

Civil Rights Activist Claudette Colvin
In a 2013 interview…

Colvin stated, “I tell—one of the questions asks, “Why didn’t you get up when the bus driver asked you, and the policemen?” I say, “I could not move, because history had me glued to the seat.” And they say, “How is that?” I say, “Because it felt like Sojourner Truth’s hands were pushing me down on one shoulder and Harriet Tubman’s hands were pushing me down on another shoulder, and I could not move. And I yelled out, ’It’s my constitutional rights,’” because I wasn’t breaking a law under the state’s law, separate but equal; I was sitting in the area that was reserved for black passengers.

At that time, we didn’t even want to be called “black,” because black had a negative connotation. We were called “coloreds.” So I was sitting in the coloreds’ section. But because of Jim Crow law, the bus driver had police force, he could ask you to get up. And the problem was that the white woman that was standing near me, she wasn’t an elderly white woman. She was a young white woman. She had a whole seat to sit down by—opposite me, in the opposite row, but she refused to sit down; because of Jim Crow laws, a white person couldn’t sit opposite a colored person. And a white person had to sit in front of you.

The purpose was to make white people feel superior and colored people feel inferior”.


Civil Rights Activist Claudette Colvin

Book

In 2009, Farrar, Straus and Giroux published Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice by Phillip Hoose. Here is a link to an excerpt from that book: NPR story

Civil Rights Activist Claudette Colvin

From Twice Toward Jusice, here is Colvin’s description of the police who came onto the bus that March 2 day:

One of them said to the driver in a very angry tone, “Who is it?” The motorman pointed at me. I heard him say, “That’s nothing new . . . I’ve had trouble with that ‘thing’ before.” He called me a “thing.” They came to me and stood over me and one said, “Aren’t you going to get up?” I said, “No, sir.” He shouted “Get up” again. I started crying, but I felt even more defiant. I kept saying over and over, in my high-pitched voice, “It’s my constitutional right to sit here as much as that lady. I paid my fare, it’s my constitutional right!” I knew I was talking back to a white policeman, but I had had enough.

One cop grabbed one of my hands and his partner grabbed the other and they pulled me straight up out of my seat. My books went flying everywhere. I went limp as a baby—I was too smart to fight back. They started dragging me backwards off the bus. One of them kicked me. I might have scratched one of them because I had long nails, but I sure didn’t fight back. I kept screaming over and over, “It’s my constitutional right!” I wasn’t shouting anything profane—I never swore, not then, not ever. I was shouting out my rights.

In September 2016, the National Museum of African-American History and Culture opened to great fanfare. Colvin  was not invited to the opening dedication and the Museum did not recognize her act of bravery.

Civil Rights Activist Claudette Colvin
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Who Roger Daltrey CBE

Who Roger Daltrey CBE

Happy birthday

March 1,  1944
Who Roger Harry Daltrey CBE

Who Founded Who?

In a sense, Roger Daltrey founded the Who.  It was he who recruited  John Entwistle in 1961 to form a band.  It was Entwistles suggestion to ask Pete Townshend to join the new band, the Detours.


Who Roger Daltrey CBE

Early on…

Daltrey’s daytime job was in a sheet metal factory, even making the band’s guitars. Interesting, since Pete’s later smashing of his guitars obviously required wooden ones.

The young band went through the usual young band growing pains adding members, firing others, changing its name to The Who, then changing it to The High Numbers, before changing it back to the Who in November 1964.

By that time, Pete Townshend was the leader of the band because of his ability to compose songs, but Roger Daltrey became the front man to sing Townshend’s songs. The famous swirling mic became Daltry’s signature.

Who Roger Daltrey CBE

1965 Who released

On December 3, 1965, the Who released their first album, “My Generation.”

Who Roger Harry Daltrey CBE
My Generation album cover
Who Roger Daltrey CBE

1967 breakout

1967 was a break-out year in the US where they appeared for the first time. One of their performance was well-timed. On June 18 they appeared at the Monterey International Pop Music Festival and were included on both its movie and soundtrack album.

Having said that, during a July – August tour that year, they opened for Herman’s Hermits.

In 1968 they began to headline and in 1969 Pete Townshends “Tommy” with Roger Daltrey embodying the character on stage, put them among the elite of rock groups.

Who Roger Daltrey CBE

Who Woodstock

Invited to perform at Woodstock, the band wasn’t certain whether to, but finally did. Like Monterey, it became a huge piece of that famous festival.

The Who’s Woodstock encore: My Generation

Who Roger Daltrey CBE

Roger Daltrey

Like many groups, members began to release solo albums, and Daltry released his first, Daltrey,  in 1973.  He has released eight solo albums, but others in collaboration as well as a children album, The Wheels on the Bus.

The Who continued, sometimes sporadically,  despite the death of Keith Moon in 1978 and John Entwistle in 2002.

The Who were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990.

Who Roger Daltrey CBE

Teenage Cancer Trust

Since 2000 he has been a patron of the Teenage Cancer Trust, a charity that builds specialized wards for teenagers with cancer in the UK and in   November 2010, Roger and Pete Townshend launched Teen Cancer America.

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Guitarist Ralph Towner

Guitarist Ralph Towner

Birthday Wishes

March 1, 1940

Icarus by Towner

Guitarist Ralph Towner

Guitarist Ralph Towner

One of many

There were over 160 performers who played on the stage in 1969 at the Woodstock Music and Art Fair. Many were , became, and have remained everyday names. Instantly recognizable. Icons.

Those are the names that visitors to the Museum at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts ask about on a docent tour with a Woodstock alum. “Where you there for…?”

Tim Hardin is not one of the names asked after and those who played with him during his set even less so.

Guitarist Ralph Towner

Tim Hardin

Ralph Towner played at Woodstock. Ralph Towner played with Tim Hardin at Woodstock. Ralph Towner never stopped playing.

An interesting thing (to me at least) about his site‘s bio page is that the word Woodstock doesn’t even appear. Well, he really doesn’t need another credit to his very long list.

Guitarist Ralph Towner

Chehalis, Washington

Towner was born in Chehalis, Washington. His mother was a piano teacher, his father a trumpet player, so it was no surprise that he enrolled as an art major at the University of Oregon in 1958. He changed to composition.

He became interested in jazz and in 1968 Towner moved to New York City to deepen his love within its jazz scene.  Paul Winter invited Towner to be part of the Paul Winter Consort.

It was with the Paul Winter Consort that he met Glen Moore, Paul McCandless, and Collin Walcott. They would all form the band Oregon in 1971. Though Towner has played with dozens of other people, Oregon was and continues to be his home port.

Guitarist Ralph Towner

Acoustic jazz

There aren’t many acoustic jazz guitarists, but Towner is one of if not the best. I am far from an expert about jazz and those who fill that field with wonderful music, but I do recognize a few of the names he’s played with and have found their music great and wish it were more widely promoted.

Watch this video and be amazed.

Guitarist Ralph Towner
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