Portland author Phillip Hoose’s book “Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice” will be used in the making of an upcoming film on the life of the unsung civil rights pioneer.

The movie will be called “Spark” and will be directed by actor Anthony Mackie and star Saniyya Sidney as Colvin, according to an article on the entertainment website Deadline Wednesday. Mackie is playing Captain America in the upcoming “Captain America 4” while Sidney recently played tennis star Venus Williams in the film “King Richard.” The filmmakers are also working with Colvin’s family.

Portland author Phillip Hoose’s book ”Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice” has been optioned by the producers of a film on the unsung civil rights pioneer. Gordon Chibroski photo.

Hoose said Wednesday that he was excited that Colvin’s story will make it to the big screen and was impressed with the cast in place. He was notified by his agent on Wednesday that the filmmakers had secured the rights to his book, which won a National Book Award for Young People’s Literature in 2009. He had met with Mackie in New Orleans about two years ago and got the sense then the actor was serious about making a movie about Colvin.

“He had done some research on his own and knew about her, but he wanted more depth,” said Hoose, 74. “I knew he had the money and the resources, so it didn’t surprise me when I heard the news.”

Colvin, who is Black, was 15 years old in 1955 when she refused to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, to a white woman and was arrested. About nine months later Rosa Parks would also refuse to give up her seat on a bus, and she would become a face of the civil rights movement.

But Colvin’s fight was largely forgotten over the years and not highly publicized. Hoose said the NAACP didn’t think a 15-year-old girl would be a compelling example for the nation. She was shunned by classmates and dismissed by community leaders, but fought on, as a plaintiff in the court case that struck down segregation laws in Montgomery.


Hoose took Colvin with him to New York City to accept the National Book Award, and keeps in touch with her via regular phone calls. Colvin, 82, told Deadline it was an “honor” to have her story told in a movie, and she hoped it might help show young people that “progress is possible, and things do get better.”

Hoose said he will serve as a consultant on the film but is not sure yet when filming might begin. Some of Hoose’s other books include “Attucks!: Oscar Robertson and the Basketball Team That Awakened a City,” “The Race to Save the Lord God Bird,” “The Boys Who Challenged Hitler: Knud Pedersen and The Churchill Club” and “We Were There, Too!: Young People in U.S. History.”

Hoose said he thinks Colvin’s story has all the elements for an engrossing film.

“It’s very cinematic. She was thrown into the back of a squad car and handcuffed and thrown into jail,” said Hoose. “There are heroes and villains and tension.”



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