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Final Tribute For Rosa Parks

A military honor guard carries the casket containing the body of civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks into the Greater Grace Temple for her funeral on November 2, 2005 at the Greater Grace Temple in Detroit, Michigan.
Getty Images/Bill Pugliano
Claudette Bond, a 62-year-old resident of Southfield, Mich., was the first person in line outside the glass doors of Greater Grace Temple, waiting since 6 p.m. Tuesday for one of 2,000 public seats for the funeral of the civil rights pioneer. As the dawn approached, the line for the funeral extended nearly two blocks west of the church with about 600 people waiting.

A white hearse carrying Parks' body pulled out of the circular driveway in front of the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History after 6 a.m. and began the journey toward the church that would host the funeral. It arrived about an hour later.

The funeral service was to begin at 11 a.m. at Greater Grace Temple, to be followed by a private burial. Viewing at the museum lasted until the pre-dawn hours Wednesday.

In all, tens of thousands came to pay their respects at the museum.

Others held a silent march in her honor, reports CBS News correspondent Lou Miliano. The NAACP said the idea was to symbolize Parks' quiet stand against segregation, and the passing of the torch from one generation to the next.

Among them was the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who called Parks "the mother of a new America." Jackson was to deliver the eulogy at Parks' funeral service.

Among those planning to attend the service were Jackson, former President Clinton and his wife, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, as well as Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, members of the Congressional Black Caucus, civil rights leaders and other dignitaries.

Aretha Franklin was to sing.

An overflow crowd was expected, with most of the seats, in accordance with Parks' wishes, reserved for the general public.

By 7:30 a.m., the line for the funeral extended more than two blocks west of the church with about 800 people waiting.

Parks was 92 when she died Oct. 24 in Detroit. Fifty years earlier, she was a 42-year-old tailor's assistant at a department store in Montgomery, Ala., when she was arrested and fined $10 plus $4 in court costs for refusing to give up her seat to a white man on a Montgomery city bus. Her action on Dec. 1, 1955 triggered a 381-day boycott of the bus system led by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.


CBS News correspondent Lou Miliano reports the remembrances for Rosa Parks are reawakening an interest in black history.


The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in December 1956 that segregated seats on city buses were unconstitutional, giving momentum to the battle against laws that separated the races in public accommodations and businesses throughout the South.

Parks' act exposed her and her husband Raymond to harassment and death threats, and they lost their jobs in Montgomery. They moved to Detroit with Rosa Parks' mother, Leona McCauley, in 1957.

Rosa Parks held a series of low-paying jobs before U.S. Rep. John Conyers hired her in 1965 to work in his Detroit office. She remained there until 1987.

Plans had originally called for Parks to be buried next to her husband and mother in a family plot in Detroit's Woodlawn Cemetery. But officials for the Swanson Funeral Home, which is handling the arrangements, confirmed Tuesday that Parks would be entombed in a mausoleum at the cemetery and that the bodies of her husband and mother would be moved there as well.