- The Washington Times - Friday, October 28, 2005

The Senate last night unanimously passed a resolution that would allow the remains of civil rights icon Rosa Parks to lie in repose Sunday and Monday at the Capitol Rotunda.

The House of Representatives is expected to approve a similar resolution today.

The resolutions, drafted to honor the achievements of the civil rights leader who died Monday, would allow Mrs. Parks to become the first woman to lie in repose in the Capitol.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, Tennessee Republican, and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, sponsored their chamber’s resolution.

“This is something that Senator Reid and Senator Frist have taken the lead on,” said Tessa Hafen, a spokeswoman for Mr. Reid’s office. “It is a chance to honor Rosa Parks and a chance for citizens to pay their last respects to a great American.”

Rep. John Conyers Jr., Michigan Democrat, sponsored the House resolution.

“I feel very positive that the Congress will be in support of her lying in state in the Capitol,” said Lila Cabbil, president emeritus of the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development.

The institute, named after Mrs. Parks and her husband, works to motivate young people to reach their potentials and is based in Detroit.

Institute spokeswoman Karen Dumas said her organization had planned to have Mrs. Parks lie in repose at the Lincoln Memorial. The National Park Service, however, said those plans never were formalized.

Former President Ronald Reagan last year was the last national leader to lie in state at the Capitol. The families of former Presidents Harry Truman and Richard Nixon declined the honor.

Noted figures who have lain in repose at the Capitol include Washington architect Pierre L’Enfant, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover and U.S. Capitol Police officers Jacob Chestnut and John Gibson, who were killed by a gunman at the Capitol’s entrance in 1998.

The honor is bestowed upon a notable person only by joint action of the House and the Senate, with the consent of the person’s family.

The House and the Senate voted Wednesday to rename in honor of Mrs. Parks a federal building in Detroit that houses the federal Homeland Security Office.

Mrs. Parks, who has received the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal, will lie in repose tomorrow at St. Paul’s AME Church in Montgomery, Ala., and a memorial service will be held at the church Sunday morning.

From Monday night until Wednesday morning, Mrs. Parks will lie in repose at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit.

Her funeral will be Nov. 2 at Greater Grace Temple Church in Detroit.

Mrs. Parks, who is credited with sparking the civil rights movement by refusing to give up her bus seat to a white man in Montgomery in 1955, died Monday while napping in her Detroit home. She was 92.

Amy Fagan contributed to this article, which is based in part on wire service reports.


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