Sonder Sonder

Sonder: We All Have a Story to Tell

We aim to give everyone the chance to tell theirs.

Sonder: n. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own. 

By definition, recorded history began with the invention of writing. What we commit to written memory is what our future generations will refer to as fact, how they’ll analyze who we were. What we don’t record may be forgotten, forever.

But what about the people who can’t read or write? Or those who don’t have the resources or a platform to tell their story? How many stories have we lost because certain people didn’t want them to be told?

Malcolm Gladwell, the memorable voice behind Revisionist History (a podcast that goes back in time to interrogate something ‘overlooked’ or ‘misunderstood’) says, “Who we are cannot be separated from where we’re from.”

Let’s be sure our children know who tread the path before them. By telling peripheralized, marginalized or merely unexpected stories we are taking charge of our history. These are the stories of all of us.

Sonder is our story category where we stop and take in the lived experiences of those who surround us. We encourage you to read on, friends.

 

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Sonder

Claudette Colvin, Original Woman Who Refused to Give Up Her Seat

Before Rosa Parks sat down, there was Claudette.

Most history books forget that Claudette Colvin is an African-American who refused to give up her seat on the bus, nine months before Rosa Parks.

It was March 2nd, 1955, in Montgomery, Alabama, when Colvin paid her fare and refused to get up from the seat for a white woman. She’d been studying Black history in high school that month and felt inspired by Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth. She felt the spirit of those two women pushing her down in her seat, telling her not to give it up.

“All I remember is that I was not going to walk off the bus voluntarily,” Colvin told NPR. She was put in handcuffs and taken to the local jail.

 

Claudette Colvin, age 15.

 

After the incident, her civil disobedience didn’t make much of a splash. She was young and soon became pregnant. Because of this, her courageous act went all but unnoticed for many years. In fact, people began to think of her as a ‘troublemaker’ within her community and she had difficulty finding employment, and soon moved to New York.

While the court decided she was guilty in her legal case and she was given probation, Colvin did go on to serve as a plaintiff in the historic Browder v. Gayle legal case, which ended the Montgomery Bus Boycott and segregation on public buses in the city.

Many think if it wasn’t for Colvin, the media wouldn’t have paid much attention to Rosa Parks and the movement that followed. For this, we offer her immense gratitude.

If you want to learn the rest of her story, peep her interview with Teen Vogue here. Then go read Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice, authored by Phil Hoose.

 

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