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Last Updated: Thursday, 3 November 2005, 02:56 GMT
US holds funeral for rights icon
A military honour guard accompanies Rosa Parks' coffin to her funeral in Detroit
Gospel singers greeted mourners at the church
Thousands of people have attended 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.

Among the mourners were civil rights leader Jesse Jackson and singer Aretha Franklin. President Bush ordered flags to be flown at half mast across the US.

Mrs Parks' refusal to give up her seat on an Alabama bus to a white man led to the eventual 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, attended 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.

Rosa Parks after her arrest in 1955
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 eulogy was delivered by Rev Jesse Jackson, who likened Mrs Parks to an eagle. "You showed us how to fly," he said.

Mrs Parks is to be 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, where Mrs Parks' body lay in state.

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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Watch key moments from the funeral




SEE ALSO:
Rosa Parks' body flown to Detroit
01 Nov 05 |  Americas
Civil rights icon Parks honoured
31 Oct 05 |  Americas
Obituary: Rosa Parks
25 Oct 05 |  Americas
Rosa Parks: Your tributes
25 Oct 05 |  Have Your Say


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