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Rosa Parks Was Ready

Most people know of Rosa Parks as the black woman who refused to go to the back of the bus, and thus ignited the 1955 bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama, a boycott that became a key victory in the civil rights movement. While Park's decision appears to be a spur-of-the-moment act, it was anything but that.

Parks had spent the previous 12 years helping lead the local NAACP chapter. The summer before, she had attended a 10-day training session in Tennessee at a labor and civil rights organizing school. For some time, she had been studying other bus boycotts, and she had already been arrested in one, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, two years earlier.

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