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Civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks honored on Capitol Hill

[JURIST] Thousands of people gathered Sunday under the dome of the Capitol Rotunda to view the closed casket of civil rights activist Rosa Parks [TIME profile], who died of natural causes at the age of 92 last week [JURIST report]. Parks is remembered most for her December 1, 1955 act of refusing to give up her seat to a white man on a Montgomery, Alabama bus. At this time, such racial segregation was still legal, despite the 1954 decision in Brown v. Board [text; Brown Foundation website] banning the "inherently unequal" segregation of blacks and whites in schools. Parks' simple gesture led to the year-long boycott [Wikipedia backgrounder] of the Montgomery public transit system which ended only once racial segregation was deemed illegal in 1956 [Gayle v. Browder text; Stetson Law School backgrounder, PDF]. In 1999, Parks received the Congressional Gold Medal [US Mint website]. Parks is the first woman to lie in honor in the Rotunda and at a Capitol ceremony Sunday, attended by the President and members of Congress, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice [official profile] noted that "without Ms. Parks, I probably would not be standing here today as Secretary of State." A memorial service at the Metropolitan A.M.E. Church in Washington is planned for Monday and Parks' funeral and burial is scheduled for Wednesday in Detroit. AP has more.

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