Three eighth-grade students took top honors in a statewide essay contest on Claudette Colvin and her courage in the face of racism, prejudice and discrimination, the New York State Bar Association announced today.

Evangelene Gallimore of Wyandanch (Milton L. Olive Middle School) took first-place honors, while Harley Anderson of Sinclairville (Cassadaga Valley Central School) and Bralynn Peterkin of Rochester (Joseph C. Wilson Magnet Foundation Academy) were awarded second- and third-place honors.

"This year's contest winners proved that they know the importance of good citizenship. Each student wrote with excellent clarity and understanding of a troubling time in American history," said Richard Bader of Albany (New Visions Law & Government Program), chair of the Law, Youth & Citizenship Committee. "I congratulate each winner on a job well done."

Essays were based on the 2009 book, "Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice," written by Philip Hoose. Colvin refused to give up her bus seat to a white woman nine months before Rosa Parks. She also testified in the Browder v. Gayle court case that ended segregation on buses in Montgomery, Alabama.

Students submitted essays that detailed how Colvin demonstrated courage and determination when faced with racism, prejudice and discrimination. Winners will meet the author at the Robert H. Jackson Center in Jamestown on February 29.

The State Bar's Law, Youth & Citizenship Program and the Jackson Center co-sponsor the annual contest.

The 77,000-member New York State Bar Association is the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation. It was founded in 1876.


Contact: Brandon Vogel
Media Writer