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Cities Reserve Bus Seats to Honor Parks

October 28, 2005|From Associated Press

DETROIT — In the city where she died and the city where she sparked the civil rights movement, the front of the bus is reserved for Rosa Parks.

Detroit and Montgomery, Ala., are reserving the first seats of their buses as a tribute to Parks' legacy until her funeral next week.

Detroit Mayor Kwame M. Kilpatrick placed a black ribbon Thursday on the first passenger seat of one of about 200 buses where seats will be reserved.

"We cannot do enough to pay tribute to someone who has so positively impacted the lives of millions across the world," Kilpatrick said in a statement.

In some buses in Montgomery, the first seat was being covered with black fabric and a photograph of Parks was being displayed, according to the Montgomery Area Transit System.

"This gesture, in conjunction with the city of Detroit, is appropriate in the two communities that Mrs. Parks called home," said Montgomery County Judge Lynn Bright.

Officials elsewhere were offering similar tributes.

The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority honored Parks by putting signs above seats in the front of 12 downtown buses that read: "This seat is reserved for no one. RTA honors the woman who took a stand by sitting down. Rosa Parks 1913-2005."

Parks, the black woman who refused to give up her bus seat to a white man in Montgomery in 1955, died Monday in Detroit at age 92. Her funeral is scheduled for Wednesday in Detroit.

The Senate approved a resolution Thursday allowing Parks' remains to lie in honor in the Capitol Rotunda on Sunday and Monday "so that the citizens of the United States may pay their last respects to this great American."

The House was expected to consider the resolution today.

In most cases, only the bodies of presidents, members of Congress and military officers have been so honored. Parks would be the first woman and second black American to receive the accolade. Jacob J. Chestnut, a Capitol police officer fatally shot in 1998, was the first black American to lie in honor, said Senate historian Richard Baker.

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