Kicking off Black History Month in the Bronx, Civil Rights pioneer Claudette Colvin and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams were honored by Council Member Andy King and the Bronx Youth Empowerment Program (YEP) on Monday, Feb. 1 at their annual “Celebrating Our History” program at Evander Childs High School, Library, 800 E. Gun Hill Road, Bronx.
This year’s theme is “Celebrating Our History: Stories Untold.”
Ms. Colvin, now a Bronx resident, has been referred to as “The Other Rosa Parks.” On March 2, 1955, 15-year-old Claudette Colvin was arrested after refusing to give up her seat to a white woman on a Montgomery, Ala., bus nine months before Mrs. Rosa Parks committed the same defiant act.
“I consider myself to be a survivor of the Civil Rights movement because so many lives were lost in the movement,” said Ms. Colvin, recalling her story to more than 150 elementary- and middle-school Bronx students.
Council Member King said Ms. Colvin was an inspiration for the civil rights movement.
“You are in the presence of living history. She is a pioneer,” said Council Member King.
Also speaking at the program was Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams, who, for the past 30 years, has served the residents of New York City as a police officer, state senator and coalition builder. He encouraged the youngsters to become volunteers and instructed them on “three important facts:” 1) Know how to shake hands; 2) Look into eyes of the person you’re speaking to and; 3) State who you are with your name, age and what you want to be.
“Never give up. Let your haters become your waiters when you sit down and dine,” said Adams. “This is your universe; decide what you will make of it.”
Council Member King and Bronx YEP members Jhaniya Smith and Vincent Middleton presented Adams with a “Recognizing Real Leadership Award” and Ms. Colvin received the “Celebrating Our History Award” in recognition of her contribution to the Civil Rights Movement.
Photo: Courtesy of Office of Council Member Andy King. Picture from left: Jamaal Bailey, Office of NYS Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie; Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, Vincent Middleton, Claudette Colvin, WBLS Personality Dr. Bob Lee, NYC Council Member Andy King, Jerome Rice, President of Co-op City NAACP, and Jhaniya Smith.