Claudette Colvin, who was arrested at the age of 15 for refusing to give up her seat on a bus to a white person in Montgomery, Alabama, is seeking to get her conviction expunged, CNN reports.
According to Colvin's legal team, they plan to file a request with a Montgomery County court to clear her record.
In March of 1955, Colvin was charged with two counts of violating the city's segregation ordinance and one felony count of assaulting a police officer. Eventually, she was convicted on all counts in juvenile court but her convictions based on the segregation of the laws of the day were overturned after appeal.
“There were two colored females sitting opposite two white females, that refused to move to the back with the rest of the colored," the 1955 police arrest report read. "Claudette Colvin, age 15, colored female, refused. We then informed Claudette that she was under arrest.” An officer also wrote in the police report that Colvin kicked and scratched him when they put her in the police vehicle.
While Rosa Parks would become one of the faces of the civil rights movement for refusing to relinquish her seat to a white passenger, Colvin was arrested for the same act of civil disobedience nine months before her. Colvin claimed that Park’s image was more "acceptable to a White" community because she was older, married, and lighter-skinned.
"People said I was crazy," Colvin recalled. "Because I was 15 years old and defiant and shouting, 'It's my constitutional right!”
Colvin says that her expungement could be seen as wrong that was made right almost 60 years later.
"I want us to move forward and be better," Colvin said in the filing. "When I think about why I'm seeking to have my name cleared by the state, it is because I believe if that happened it would show the generation growing up now that progress is possible and things do get better. It will inspire them to make the world better.”
Phillip Ensler, Colvin’s attorney, said that her expungement was a "long overdue justice."
"People think it was just about a seat on a bus but it was about so much more than that," he said.
Colvin is also seeking expungement because she’s moving to Texas soon.
Her younger sister, Gloria Laster, said that Colvin wants to get her record cleared so she can be a role model for her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
"This is going to be her legacy to them," Laster said. "I sat down on the bus so that you can stand up and take your rightful place as an American. And that's what she wants for her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. This is what she's doing this for."
Daryl G. Bailey, district attorney of Montgomery County, also plans to file a motion in support of Colvin's expungement.
"I believe that the charges that were (originally) brought, were brought on bogus laws," Bailey said. "It was totally unlawful what the state, and law enforcement, did to this woman at the time."