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Last Updated: Saturday, 4 February 2006, 23:03 GMT
Atlanta mourners honour King wife
Carriage bearing Coretta Scott King's coffin
Thousands are estimated to have viewed the casket
People have been paying their respects to Coretta Scott King - widow of US civil rights leader Martin Luther King - who died earlier this week aged 78.

She is the first African-American and the first woman to lie in honour in the Georgia state Capitol building.

Crowds cheered as her casket was borne through Atlanta by horse-drawn carriage and the state flag flew at half-mast.

Mrs King had carried on her husband's work for racial equality after he was assassinated in 1968.

She fought successfully for a national holiday in memory of him and founded The King Center in Atlanta to preserve his legacy.

Tears and tributes

Thousands of mourners had waited for hours at the Capitol to pay their respects to the civil rights activist.

The Georgian governor greeted the Kings' four children outside the building and escorted the body inside.

Martin Luther King with wife Coretta and three of their four children, in 1963
She stood in line for me, her and her husband, when I couldn't stand in line
Janann Ransom
Atlanta resident

At a short ceremony, Governor Sonny Perdue called King's widow "an inspiration to millions".

Her children spent a few minutes at the casket before the doors were opened to the public.

Police estimated that up to 10,000 people passed by in the first two and-a-half hours of the viewing.

"She's worth it," Atlanta resident Janann Ransom said.

"She stood in line for me, her and her husband, when I couldn't stand in line."

Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin, the first black woman to lead the city, said she owed her career to King.

"I would not be here without her."

Activist

Mrs King died in her sleep on Monday night, after experiencing poor health in recent years.

Mrs King, who met her husband in Boston and married him in 1953, supported him in his civil rights work.

After his death, she raised their children while working to secure his legacy.

In 1969 she founded the Martin Luther King Jr Centre for Non-violent Social Change in Atlanta.

She saw the establishment of a national holiday to mark her husband's January birthday, from 1986.




BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Mourners pay their respects at the church in Atlanta




SEE ALSO:
Widow of Martin Luther King dies
31 Jan 06 |  Americas
Obituary: Coretta Scott King
31 Jan 06 |  Americas


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