Civil rights pioneer seeks expungement of ’55 arrest record

2021-10-26 17:15:04 –

Montgomery, Alabama — A few months before Rosa Parks became the mother of the modern civil rights movement by refusing to move behind an isolated Alabama bus, black teenager Claudette Corbin did the same. .. Convicted of assaulting a police officer during her arrest, she was put on probation but never received notice that she was in a legally safe place after her term.

Now at the age of 82 and late, Corbin asked the judge to end the matter altogether. She wants the courts of Montgomery to clear the record that her lawyer has cast a shadow over the life of a little-known hero in the civil rights era.

“I’m an old woman now. Erase my records means something for my grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and it means something for other black children,” Corbin said. I said in the affidavit.

When Corbin entered the clerk’s office and filed a request for erasure on Tuesday, supporters sang and applauded the civil rights national anthem. Her lawyer, Philip Ensler, said she wanted to seal all legal documents and erase all records of the case.

Montgomery County District Attorney Darryl Bailey later said he had agreed to the request to clear Corbin’s record and ruled out allegations of approval.

“I can say I’m no longer a juvenile delinquent,” Corbin told a crowd of relatives, applicants and activists.

Also attended was Fred Gray, a well-known civil rights lawyer who is now 90 years old. He is not currently involved in her proceedings.

Recalling her arrest, Corbin said to the crowd: “My way of thinking was free.”

“So I didn’t mean to move that day,” she said. “I told them that history has nailed me to my seat.”

According to Ensler, Corbin left Alabama at the age of 20 and spent decades in New York, but what happens when she returns to her visit because court officials never said she had finished probation. I was always worried about it.

“Since then, her family has lived with this tremendous horror,” he said. “Because of all the perceptions and attempts to tell her story in recent years, nothing has been done to clear her record.”

Corbin, in his eighties, who now lives in Birmingham before living with his Texas relatives, strangely made her request to a juvenile court judge. Said Ensler.

Montgomery’s city bus system, like other public life throughout the Deep South, was severely divided along racial boundaries in the 1950s. Blacks had to use one fountain and whites had to use another. Before the bus it was for whites, but blacks had to go back by law.

After refusing to give up a bus seat to a white man on December 1, 1955, the 42-year-old seamstress and NAACP activist Parks became world-famous. Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. is in the nation’s limelight and is often seen as the beginning of the modern civil rights movement.

Corbin, a 15-year-old high school student at the time, was fed up even in front of the park and refused to move.

On March 2, 1955, a bus driver called police and complained that two black girls were sitting near two white girls and refused to move behind the bus. rice field. Police reported that one of the black girls moved when asked, but Corbin refused.

Police reported that Corbin had a hard time with police officers taking her off the bus and kicking and scratching them. She was initially convicted of violating the city’s racism law, behaving chaotically, and assaulting an officer, but appealed and only the assault was stranded.

The case was sent to the juvenile court for Corbin’s age, and records show that the judge found her delinquent and put her on probation “as a state ward awaiting good deeds.” And when that was over, Ensler said he never got the official word that Corbin had completed probation and her relatives were assuming the worst.

Ensler said it was “ambiguous” as to whether Corbin was actually on probation, but she had never been arrested or legally scratched. She even became a nominated plaintiff in a groundbreaking proceeding that outlawed racism in Montgomery’s bus. Still, Corbin said the trauma endured, especially for relatives who were always worried about her.

“My belief that I stood up for my constitutional rights only knew that the townspeople knew me as” that girl on the bus “so I wouldn’t talk about my arrest and conviction. I terrorized my family and relatives, “she said.

Ensler said it was uncertain when the judge would rule.


Reeves is a member of AP’s racial and ethnic team.

Civil rights pioneer seeks expungement of ’55 arrest record Source link Civil rights pioneer seeks expungement of ’55 arrest record

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