Before Rosa Parks.

Before Rosa Parks.

Before Rosa Parks.

Previously published Slate articles made new.
Oct. 25 2005 3:33 PM

Before Rosa Parks

Remembering the others who wouldn't give up their seats.

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Rosa Parks, renowned for her refusal to relinquish her bus seat to a white man, died yesterday at the age of 92. Her civil disobedience prompted the yearlong Montgomery bus boycott, the first major action in the civil rights movement. But, as Brendan I. Koerner explained in 2002, she wasn't the first African-American arrested for breaking that law. Several others preceded her, but the black community did not mobilize behind them because their cases weren't judged to attract as much sympathy.