From The New Thought Police: Inside the Left's Assault on Free Speech and Free Minds by Tammy Bruce:
Most Americans believe that the civil-rights struggle was full of serendipity. that it was a spontaneous grassroots movement of average people who wanted to make a difference and improve their lives. Rosa Parks, for example, has been portrayed as an Everywoman who happened to take the bus one day in 1955 and somehow crashed through the barriers of her ordinary, run-of-the-mill life by deciding not to relinquish her seat to a white man.
In truth, the Montgomery, Alabama, chapter of the NAACP had been looking for months for a test case to challenge bus segregation. For this, they needed a bus rider to be arrested so their challenge could move through the courts but it had to be the right sort of bus rider. In fact, Parks wasn’t the first black to refuse to relinquish a seat to a white person. The first to personally challenge bus segregation earlier in 1955 had been 15-year-old Claudette Colvin, followed by another teenager named Mary Louise Smith. The NAACP leaders, however, didn’t think that either of the girls would cut the right kind of figure in court.
Parks was a veteran activist and an officer of the Montgomery NAACP. In actuality, she wielded great power in the chapter; she was the one who had noticed Martin Luther King Jr. and asked him to join the executive committee. She was at the meeting where the Montgomery NAACP leaders considered the possibility of using Colvin or Smith as the test case.
In December of 1955, six weeks after the NAACP’s rejection of the teenagers, Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat. Parks told Time magazine, “I did not get on the bus to get anested. I got on the bus to go home” That may have been true for Colvin and Smith but certainly not for Parks, Rosa Parks was a “bus rider" the way Betty Friedan was a “housewife".