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Hundreds Attend Parks Memorial in Ala.

October 30, 2005

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) _ Hundreds of people lined up Sunday for a memorial service for Rosa Parks, who inspired the civil rights movement by refusing to give up a seat on a city bus to a white man.

Cascades of roses covered her casket in a chapel bearing her name at St. Paul A.M.E. Church, where she was once a member. A separate wing was opened for the overflowing crowd.

``I think she had a defining stand in the civil rights movement,″ said Estella Jernigan, 20, a student at Troy University.

Scheduled speakers included Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice; Joseph Lowery, a co-founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference; Martin Luther King III and the Rev. Jesse Jackson.

Parks has been lying in honor at the church since Saturday, when hundreds of people slowly filed past her casket. Later Sunday and Monday, Parks will lie in honor in the Capitol Rotunda in Washington, D.C., becoming the first woman to do so.

``It’s an honor that St. Paul is in the forefront in honoring Mrs. Parks on her last visit to Montgomery,″ said a church worker, Brenda Kahn.

The body of the 92-year-old Parks, who died Monday at her home in Detroit, was brought to Montgomery on a chartered jet flown by Lou Freeman, the first black man to become a chief pilot for a U.S. carrier, according to Southwest Airlines.

After Parks was arrested in 1955 for refusing to give up her bus seat, she turned to her minister, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., for aid. King led the 381-day boycott of the city’s bus system that helped initiate the modern civil rights movement.

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