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World News: Thousands of mourners pay tribute to Rosa Parks Black Habits Articles More than 30,000 people filed past the casket of Rosa Parks, the U.S. civil rights pioneer whose body was lying in state in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C.

Parks, who helped spark the American civil rights movement when she refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white man, was the first woman to have her body laid out in state in the Rotunda and only the 30th person to be so honoured. The tribute is usually reserved for presidents, politicians and soldiers.

Later on Monday, her casket was taken to a church in Washington for a memorial service. Her body will then be returned to Detroit, where she died on Oct. 24 at age 92. She is to be buried there on Wednesday.

As members of a university choir sang The Battle Hymn of Republic, members of the National Guard carried in Parks' casket.

Parks' body was flown to the capital on Sunday, after a memorial service was held for her in Montgomery, Ala., where in 1955 she had defied a city bylaw by refusing to give up her seat.

U.S. President George W. Bush, civil rights leaders Rev. Jesse Jackson and Rev. Al Sharpton, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Alabama Gov. Bob Riley were among the hundreds of dignitaries and ordinary citizens at the church.

"I can honestly say that without Mrs. Parks, I probably would not be standing here today as Secretary of State," Rice said.

Parks' rebellion spurred the civil rights movement after Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. led a boycott of the city buses for more than a year.

"The only thing that bothered me was that we waited so long to make this protest," she later said.

Born in 1913, Parks recalled an era of approved racism in the U.S. South.

"I remember going to sleep as a girl hearing the Klan ride at night and hearing a lynching and being afraid the house would burn down," she said.

Note: Last Updated Mon, 31 Oct 2005 13:04:14 EST CBC News
Posted on Monday, October 31 @ 15:50:33 MST by jcohen

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