When Claudette was 15 years old, she was arrested for refusing to give up her seat to a white passenger in a racially segregated bus in Alabama. Colvin stood her ground because she felt it was her constitutional right after paying the fare. She was forcibly removed from the bus and arrested.
She lost the initial case but in 1956 Colvin was one of five plaintiffs included in the federal court case against bus segregation, Browder v. Gayle. On June 5, 1956, the federal court in Montgomery, Alabama ruled that the segregation system was against the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, which states that all citizens regardless of race should receive equal rights under state and federal laws.
Despite appeals from state and local officials, the Supreme Court stood by the ruling and ordered an end to bus segregation in the state of Alabama.