Rosa Parks Passes Away - Xtratime Community
 
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post #1 of 1 (permalink) Old November 2nd, 2005, 20:44 Thread Starter
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Rosa Parks Passes Away

US holds funeral for rights icon

Gospel singers greeted mourners at the church

Thousands of people have gathered to pay their respects at the funeral of US civil rights icon Rosa Parks, who died last week aged 92.

Former US President Bill Clinton led the tributes at the ceremony in Detroit, Michigan, her home since 1957.

Also among the mourners were civil rights leader Jesse Jackson, and the singer Aretha Franklin.

Mrs Parks' refusal to give up her seat on an Alabama bus to a white man led to the end of legal segregation.

Earlier this week, thousands filed past her coffin as she lay in state in Alabama and then Washington.

'Grace and dignity'

Hundreds of politicians and other dignitaries, along with 2,000 members of the public, are attending the service in the 4,000-seat Greater Grace Temple church.

Audience members held hands and sang the civil rights anthem We Shall Overcome, as family members filed past the open casket before it was closed.

Parks was arrested and charged $14 for violating segregation laws



Opening the service, Bishop Charles Ellis III said: "Mother Parks, take your rest. You have certainly earned it."

Referring to Mrs Parks' decision not to give up her bus seat to a white man, Mr Clinton said that "in that simple act, and a lifetime of grace and dignity, [Rosa Parks] showed us every single day what it means to be free".

The daughter of Rev Martin Luther King Jr, Rev Bernice King, also spoke at the service.

The Rev Jesse Jackson will deliver the eulogy before Mrs Parks is buried in a Detroit cemetery.

Flags will fly at half-mast and the first seat on buses in Montgomery, Alabama, and in Detroit will be left empty in her memory.

First woman

After her death, hundreds of mourners, including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, also attended a memorial service in Montgomery, Alabama.

Mrs Parks' body was then moved to the Rotunda on Capitol Hill in Washington, where more long lines of people queued to pay their respects. She was the first woman to receive the honour usually reserved for presidents, and only the second African-American.

Mrs Parks' mahogany casket was them taken into the rotunda of Detroit's Charles H Wright Museum of African-American History. Mrs Parks' refusal to give up her seat to a white man on a bus in Montgomery prompted a mass black boycott of buses, organised by Rev Martin Luther King Jr. The movement culminated in the 1964 Civil Rights Act and an end to segregation, but not without cost to Mrs Parks, who was forced to leave Alabama for Detroit as a result of a hate campaign.




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