Skip to main content


Return to Transcripts main page


Rosa Parks' Funeral Under Way in Detroit; Prince Charles, Camilla Arrive at White House

Aired November 2, 2005 - 11:59   ET


DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello. Welcome back. I'm Daryn Kagan at CNN Center in Atlanta.
This is CNN's special coverage of the funeral for the woman affectionately known as the mother of the civil rights movement, Rosa Parks.

Lawmakers and factory workers, a former U.S. president and everyday citizens all are gathered this hour in Detroit. A fitting tribute for a quiet middle-aged seamstress who helped launch the civil rights movement.

Funeral services began last hour for Rosa Parks. She died last week at the age of 92.

CNN's Dan Lothian is outside the church, where many people began lining up well before dawn -- Dan.


Yes, indeed, people still lined up here even though the funeral service has gotten under way. What we see happening here is that they'll allow a group of people to go in the door, and then they close the door, you wait a few minutes, it gets sort of antsy out here, and then the doors open again, and sometime you'll hear people applaud as they are allowed to go inside.

But certainly, when you take a look at how many people are still standing in line here, it is clear that some of these folks, some who live around the area, some who have traveled a great distance to come here, may not get a chance to go inside the church. The capacity is roughly 4,000 people in the main sanctuary, and then additional 1,000 seats in the overflow room.

So, a lot more people wanting to come here and be part of this funeral service than might be able to actually take part in it inside -- Daryn.

KAGAN: And about half the seats were supposed to be saved for the general public, Dan?

LOTHIAN: That's correct, half the seats for the general public. And then the others for family members. And, of course, all the dignitaries, as you pointed out earlier, everyone from former president Bill Clinton, Senator John Kerry, and all of the -- sort of a who's who of all the civil rights leaders, also, either attending or take part in the funeral service today.

KAGAN: All right, Dan. We'll be back to you.

I want to welcome former Atlanta mayor and former U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Andrew Young, was one of the principal lieutenants of the civil rights movement that Parks helped usher in. He joins us again to talk about the funeral and the life and the legacy of Rosa Parks.

Take us back to the day you first became aware of Rosa Parks.

ANDREW YOUNG, CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST: Well, I was pastoring in Georgia, but my family, my wife, was from Marion, Alabama, which is right near Montgomery. And we knew about the trouble with the bus boycott. And I did not know Rosa Parks personally then, but I knew a number of people at Tuskegee and around. And everybody spoke of her with the utmost respect.

And it was -- it was clear from the beginning that she was one of the few people that an entire community would have rallied around. She was -- she had no enemies.

KAGAN: Let me just interrupt just a moment, Mr. Ambassador, because I'm going to want to hear more about that.

I need to go live to the White House. We'll continue with you and our Rosa Parks coverage in just a minute.

First, though, to the White House.

Bob Franken, you're there as Prince Charles and his wife Camilla arrive.

BOB FRANKEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: In contrast with the humble origins of Rosa Parks, and here we have, as I said, quite the contrast. The prince and the -- and Camilla coming out of their car, being greeted by the president and first lady. They're going to be lunching today at the White House. The prince will be saying something like, "Nice little place you have here."

After the lunch, the prince and Camilla will be going to an innovative school in the lower-income section of Washington.

You see them here posing for their requisite pictures before they go inside. Then they'll be coming back this evening for a big lavish state dinner.

Still don't have the invitation list yet, but you can imagine that that was one that was hard fought over. The president and first lady don't give many of these because they have sort of a distaste for staying up as late as these dinners require.

But they're having one tonight. There's quite a bit of -- quite a bit of pomp and circumstance, a lot of etiquette in Washington right now.

The president and first lady possibly welcoming the departure from all the controversies that surround this administration. Today it's a day that is, to a large degree, focused on the royalty as they go into the White House to lunch.

KAGAN: Bob Franken at the White House. Thank you.

Want to welcome back in Deborah Strober, our royal watcher, who is watching this visit.

What are you watching, Deborah, as the prince and the duchess make their way across the U.S.?

DEBORAH STROBER, COAUTHOR, "THE MONARCH": OK, I'm seeing him positioning himself to be a future monarch, bringing Camilla into it as -- and possibly making her his queen. And, you know, you saw today just now that little royal wave that she gave. She's being schooled for that role.

KAGAN: And some might say a role that she's wanted all along since these two have had a relationship that goes back, what, 35 years?

STROBER: Yes. Well, I think Charles wants it maybe even more than she wants it. He wants it for her. And he's been pushing, he's been very carefully calibrating all of these events in their relationship to come to the point of their marriage.

KAGAN: And we'll be watching it. Deborah Strober, thank you, as we watch the scenes from the White House. Camilla and Prince Charles just arriving there.

Want to get back to our coverage of Rosa Parks and the funeral, and our fascinating conversation I've been able to have here with Andrew Young throughout the morning.

You were -- and excuse me for the interruption there. But you were talking about first becoming aware of Rosa Parks. It was some years later when you were able to meet her for the first time.

YOUNG: Yes, but she had already become a legend, and it's -- it's like when you meet her, it's like when I met Mother Teresa. She didn't have to say anything, she didn't have to do anything. She just was. She was the embodiment of a beautiful spirit that had been developed through her total life.

KAGAN: You were saying that she was a quiet woman all along, she was quiet before the protests took place. The protest itself was quiet.

How do you think it is that this woman kept her dignity and her quietness and that air about her after so many years of fame, as well?

YOUNG: Well, I think it never bothered her. She saw herself for what she was, but I don't think she was ever particularly impressed with herself.

KAGAN: No. YOUNG: Whenever you'd start talking with her about the bus boycott, she'd start talking about E.D. Nixon and the NAACP, and she'd talk about the role of Martin Luther King. She'd talk about Claudette Colvin and the young people in her youth group at the NAACP that had been abused in the process of just going back and forth to school.

And that she saw herself as just the one that happened to, you know, bring it all together.

KAGAN: Just doing what she was called to do at the moment.

YOUNG: I think. And it was a matter of being called to do that.

KAGAN: You say a lesson that we could all learn from her is the lessons of patience?

YOUNG: Yes, because there had been many times when she could have, you know, forced an issue. She never forced an issue. She wasn't forcing an issue that day.

It was forced really by the bus driver, because she wasn't sitting in the front of the bus as a protest. She went as far back in the bus as she could. But when whites got on...

KAGAN: It was about having to give up her seat.

YOUNG: It was about having to give up had her seat, yes. It was also that the bus driver, that particular bus driver had had experiences with her before.

KAGAN: So they knew of each other.

YOUNG: They knew of each other. And he was angry that, one, that he stopped for her, and that she insisted on sitting down and then refused to get up.

KAGAN: You talked a little bit before about everybody being in the place they were supposed to, everybody playing the role that they ultimately were meant to fill. What do you think it was about Montgomery, Alabama? There were so many little towns, so many places around the South where something like this could have happened.

YOUNG: Yes. And yet, Montgomery had a history of Alabama State College and Tuskegee Institute, which produced and educated middle class. It was also a place that was not too big.

KAGAN: Why would too big come into factor there?

YOUNG: Well, if it was too big, people would...

KAGAN: Like, let's say Atlanta. Why wouldn't something like that happen here in Atlanta?

YOUNG: Well, because people might not know each other. But Atlanta back then would have been a good time, but Reverend Williams Holmes Borders had actually tried to have a boycott here in Atlanta. KAGAN: And why didn't that one...

YOUNG: I don't know. I wasn't here. But there had been a boycott that had been successful in Baton Rouge, also before Rosa Parks. But that didn't last long.

I think this lasted for 381 days. And it was the fact that the community stayed together that long, and that there was no incident. When they were provoked to violence, when Martin Luther King's home was bombed, when Rosa Parks was arrested -- there is Corretta King, and another sweet and wonderful woman who I've never seen angry at anybody, except occasionally her children.

KAGAN: And what mother isn't, right?



YOUNG: But even that, not often.

KAGAN: We will continue our remembrance, both looking at Detroit, Michigan, and our visit here with Andrew Young. We will do that as our coverage of the funeral of Rosa Parks continues here on CNN.


KAGAN: We go live back to Detroit, Michigan. Former president Bill Clinton at the funeral of Rosa Parks. The former president about to make remarks about the civil rights pioneer.

Let's listen in.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When Wayne State University took its exhibit Marching Towards Justice to Washington, D.C., when we opened the exhibit Marching Towards Justice, we asked President Clinton to be the featured speaker at the Thurgood Marshall Judicial Center. Mrs. Thurgood Marshall was there, and so was Rosa Parks, and dignitaries from all over the world.

And after Mrs. Thurgood Marshall spoke, some ladies brought up about five dozen of red roses. And Mrs. Marshall turned around and said, "Rosa, these are for you." And Mrs. Parks says, "No, they are for you."

And then Rosa gave them back. And so Mrs. Thurgood Marshall said, "Rosa, Thurgood Marshall wants you to have those roses."


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president of the United States, William Jefferson Clinton.



Judge Keith and I have been friends a long time. And I think sometimes my memory is going. But he's a little bit older than I am, and I can't believe he remembers the roses story, but it happened just like he said.

Bishop, the assembled bishops and clergy and Governor, members of Congress, mayors, other officials, I'd like to say a special word of thanks on this occasion to Congressman John Conyers for giving Rosa Parks that job so long ago and giving her a chance to come here.


I must begin by begging your forgiveness. You know why? I'm happy here, and I don't want to go anywhere.


But months ago -- months ago -- I promised to be in New York City before I can get there, to talk about what we can do to give health care to the Americans who don't have it. And I think I have to go back. I hope you'll forgive me.


I want to stay and hear the preachers preach and Santita (ph) and Aretha sing. And I feel down right cheated, because I've heard me give a speech before, and I apologize.

And I apologize to you, Rosa.

The world knows of Rosa Parks because of a single simple act of dignity and courage that struck a lethal blow to the foundations of legal bigotry.

But 50 years and 29 days ago, when Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white man in the south where segregation extended even to the close confines of the city bus, she was just taking the next step on her own long road to freedom.

It began when she was just 11, when she moved to Montgomery because there was no school that admitted African-Americans beyond the sixth grade in her little town of Pine Level, Alabama.

It continued when she was 19, when she married Raymond Parks, a strong NAACP member who worked for the defense of the Scottsboro boys.

At 30, she joined the NAACP; one of the first women to do so. In the same year, she made her first attempt to register to vote. And this highly articulate intelligent, literal woman was judged to have failed the literacy test. In fact, the authorities failed the humanity test.


And in the same year she had a prophetic run-in with a bus driver, who threw her off the bus because she insisted on getting on the front door and paying at the front place. And black folks were supposed to get on at the back and pay there.

At 33, she finally got to vote. They couldn't figure out how to flunk her the third time on the literacy test.

At 42, after attending a workshop on integration at the Highlander Folk School in Tennessee, she got on that bus with the same old driver and refused to give up her seat to a white man in a region where gentlemen are supposed to give up their seats to ladies.


CLINTON: Rosa Parks ignited the most significant social movement in modern American history to finish the work that spawned the Civil War and redeem the promise of the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments.

For 50 more years, she moved beyond the bus, continuing her work on that promise.

It was my honor to present her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom and to join the leaders of Congress in presenting her with a Congressional Gold Medal.


I remember well when she sat with Hillary in the box of the first family at the State of the Union Address in 1999 and how the entire Congress, Democrats and Republicans alike, rose as one to recognize that she had made us all better people in a better country.

When I first met Rosa Parks, I was reminded of what Abraham Lincoln said when he was introduced to Harriet Beecher Stowe, the author of "Uncle Tom's Cabin." He said, "So this is the little lady who started the great war."


This time, Rosa's War was fought by Martin Luther King's rules, civil disobedience, peaceful resistance.


But a war nonetheless for one America in which the law of the land means the same thing for everybody.

Rosa Parks, as we saw again today, was small in stature with delicate features. But the passing years did nothing to dim the light that danced in her eyes, the kindness and strength you saw in her smile, or the dignity of her voice.

To the end, she radiated that kind of grace and serenity that God specially gives to those who stand in the line of fire for freedom and touch even the hardest hearts.

CLINTON: I remember, as if it were yesterday, that fateful day 50 years ago. I was a 9-year-old southern white boy who rode a segregated bus every single day of my life. I sat in the front. Black folk sat in the back.

When Rosa showed us that black folks didn't have to sit in the back anymore, two of my friends and I, who strongly approved of what she had done, decided we didn't have to sit in the front anymore.


It was just a tiny gesture by three ordinary kids. But that tiny gesture was repeated over and over again millions and millions of times in the hearts and minds of children, their parents, their grandparents, their great grandparents, proving that she did help to set us all free.


And that great civil rights song that Nina Simone did so well: "I wish I knew how it would feel to be free. I wish I could break all the chains holding me. I wish I could fly like a bird in the sky."

At the end it says: "I wish that you knew how it feels to be me. Then you'd see and agree that everyone should be free."


Now that our friend Rosa Parks has gone on to her just reward, now that she has gone home and left us behind, let us never forget that in that simple act and a lifetime of grace and dignity, she showed us every single day what it means to be free.

She made us see and agree that everyone should be free.

God bless you, Rosa.


KAGAN: We've been listening in to former president Bill Clinton giving his remarks at the funeral of civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks.

We'll have more on what the former president had to say in just a moment, and more from Detroit, Michigan.

Right now, a quick break.


KAGAN: We are listening in to the "Hymn of Celebration." That is Ms. Stephanie Morrison (ph) singing "Great is Thy Faithfulness."

And this is -- that's not that? I have Andrew Young next to me saying, no, that's not what that is.

YOUNG: That's spiritual, but it's not -- and it might be Stephanie Morrison (ph).

KAGAN: But that's not "Great is Thy Faithfulness."

YOUNG: But that's "When I Come to Die, Give me Jesus."

KAGAN: And it is -- it's beautiful.


KAGAN: And this is the funeral of Rosa Parks that we've been listening into, this song, following remarks by former president Bill Clinton.

Once again, I'm joined by former ambassador, former mayor of Atlanta, former congressman, Andrew Young, who's been listening in to the remarks and watching the service with me here today.

Let's talk a little bit about some of the comments that former president Clinton made, Mr. Ambassador. And I think he gave a little -- some interesting historical context to the life of Rosa Parks, talking about events in her life that led up to her sign of protest and to the bus boycott, and that she failed a literacy test as she tried to register to vote in Montgomery, Alabama.

YOUNG: Well, that was the rule until 1965. My younger brother was a dentist. He passed the -- and a lieutenant in the Navy.

KAGAN: But couldn't pass that test, though, huh?

YOUNG: Came back to New Orleans and passed the dental -- state dental boards. And went over to register to vote, and they wouldn't let him vote.

We had college professors, Ph.Ds in Montgomery from Alabama State and from Tuskegee that were denied the right to vote on the grounds that they did not pass the literacy test.

KAGAN: And how would that process work? I mean, obviously...

YOUNG: It was a deliberate attempt to keep black people from voting. And that's what brought the Selma movement into being.

Now, though, it would seem that things like the voter I.D. card, the difficulties that are being introduced, are other attempts. In fact, I was sitting here thinking about the new Supreme Court nominee, who's a strong believer in states' rights.

What would his decision have been about the desegregation of the buses in 1956, when the Supreme Court decided that the states did not have the right to institute segregation on buses?

KAGAN: Well, and in terms of the views of Samuel Alito, we might have a chance, as time goes forward, to find out more of his views and what he might do as a Supreme Court nominee.

We'll have more with Andrew Young and more coverage from Detroit, Michigan, in just a moment.

Right now, another break.


KAGAN: Welcome back. I'm Daryn Kagan. We continue our coverage of the funeral of Rosa Parks. It is at least a three-hour long affair, taking place right now in Detroit, Michigan. We'll get back to that in just a moment, as well as our ongoing comments from former ambassador, former Atlanta mayor Andrew Young, who is here with me in Atlanta.

We'll get to that in a moment. Right now, let's take a look at what else is happening "Now in the News."

More American troops have lost their lives in Iraq. Military officials say two marine pilots died earlier today in a helicopter crash near Ramadi in Anbar Province. A war plane later pounded an insurgent base near the crash site. So far, there's no word on what caused the crash.

Also in Ramadi, a marine and a sailor assigned to the marines were killed when their vehicle hit a roadside bomb. The death toll for U.S. troops in Iraq is now 2,031.

At least 20 deaths and dozens of injuries are reported in a vehicle bombing south of Baghdad. Women and children among the casualties. The bomb was planted in a mini-bus. It exploded near a Shiite mosque in a shopping area in a town just south of Baghdad.

Prime Minister John Howard says Australian authorities have received specific intelligence and terrorist information that terrorists are planning an attack on Australia. has been a terror target overseas, but has never had such an attack on its home soil. Mr. Howard is asking lawmakers to quickly pass legislation to help protect the country.

The death toll has surged yet again from last month's massive earthquake in southern Asia. Pakistan says fatalities in that country alone have pushed past 73,000. At least 1, 200 deaths have been reported in India-controlled Kashmir. Some 3.3 million people are homeless as winter approaches in that region.

Beginning in January, you'll have to spend a little more to send a letter or a postcard. A first class U.S. postage stamp will increase to 39 cents. A postcard will cost 24 cents. The last postal increase was in 2002.

A showdown is looming on Capitol Hill. Republicans are seething over Democrats' surprise move that plunged the Senate into closed session yesterday. Republican leaders denounced the move as a stunt and an insult. Call it what you will, Democrats say the rarely used tactic was effective. They're demanding answers on the Bush administration's handling of pre-war intelligence on Iraq.

Our congressional correspondent Ed Henry has the latest from Capitol Hill.


ED HENRY, CNN CAPITOL HILL CORRESPONDENT: A Democratic sneak attack that sent shock waves through the Senate.

SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MINORITY LEADER: Mr. President, enough time has gone by. I demand, on behalf of the American people, that we understand why these investigations aren't being conducted.

HENRY: Democratic leader Harry Reid accused Republicans of failing to probe allegations the White House manipulated intelligence to justify the war in Iraq.

REID: And in accordance with rule 21, I now move the Senate go into closed session.

SEN. DICK DURBIN (D), ILLINOIS: Mr. President, I second the motion.

HENRY: An easy but rare maneuver with extraordinary consequences, the Senate chamber was locked down, television cameras shut off so lawmakers could go into secret session to debate.

Republican leader Bill Frist was enraged.

SEN. BILL FRIST (R-TN), MAJORITY LEADER: Not with the previous Democratic leader, or the current Democratic leader, have ever I been slapped in the face with such an affront to the leadership of this grand institution.

There has been at least consideration for the other side of the aisle before a stunt, and this is a pure stunt.

HENRY: Reid refused to back down, demanding the Republican-led Intelligence Committee finish a long-awaited report on whether the Bush administration twisted intelligence.

REID: This investigation has been stymied, stopped, obstructions thrown up every step of the way. That's the real slap in the face. That's the slap in the face. And today the American people are going to see little bit of light.

HENRY: What's really going on is, Democrats feel emboldened by the indictment of Vice President Cheney's former chief of staff, believing this is their chance to issue a broader indictment of the Bush administration.

DURBIN: We have lost over 2,000 of our best and bravest. Over 15,000 have been seriously wounded. We are spending more than $6 billion a month with no end in sight. And this Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee refuses to even ask the hard questions about the misinformation...

HENRY: Republicans insist they're completing the investigation, and this is just a distraction.

SEN. RICK SANTORUM (R), PENNSYLVANIA: This is purely political. This is settling an old political score.

HENRY: Democrats say they also want to signal they're ready to stand up to the Republican majority and may even filibuster the president's latest Supreme Court pick, Samuel Alito, a move that would make these events seem like the opening fireworks in a much nastier battle.

Ed Henry, CNN, Washington.


KAGAN: And our coverage continues from Detroit, Michigan. The funeral of civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks goes on. You can see the Reverend Jesse Jackson. He will be delivering the eulogy. Just a few minutes ago, we heard from former president Bill Clinton. More of that sound just ahead, as well as ongoing remarks from former ambassador Andrew Young, here with me in Atlanta. We're back in a moment.


KAGAN: And, once again, we're watching live pictures from Detroit, Michigan. It's the funeral of civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks. It is quite an event, 4,000 people packed into the church. And just moments ago, the wrap-up of the invocation with Dr. Charles Adams. Here's a little taste of what you missed.


CHARLES ADAMS, HARTFORD MEM. BAPTIST CHURCH: If I were Zulu, I'd say (FOREIGN LANGUAGE). If I were Zutu, I'd say (FOREIGN LANGUAGE). If I deaf, I'd say...


ADAMS: But since I am who I am and I got what I got and I feel what I feel, I'll just say thank you. Thank you. Praise your name. Amen!


KAGAN: And now we listen in. It's Dr. Bernice King, the daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., with Scriptures. Let's listen in.

REV. BERNICE KING, DAUGHTER OF MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.: This is a very profound and kairos moment. As God has used the death of Rosa Parks to interrupt time and bring to the attention once again of this nation of that extraordinary non-violent revolutionary movement that changed the course of history and transformed this nation and the world.

And it's God's way once again of causing us to look at ourselves and cleanse our collective consciences from the poison of the cancer that continues to eat away at the soul of America. Because it is God's desire that we would walk in our destiny as a nation. And so we praise God for this profound moment.

I will be reading for you from the Old Testament scripture, the Book of Job, chapter 14, verses one through six. After my reading of the scripture, I have been asked by Mrs. Elaine Steel to bring remarks on behalf of my mother, Mrs. Coretta Scott King.


The 14th chapter of Job reads, "Man who is born of woman is a few days and full of trouble. He comes forth like a flower and fades away. He flees like a shadow and does not continue. And do you open your eyes on such a one and bring me to judgment with yourself? Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? No one. Since his days are determined, the number of his months is with you. You have appointed his limits so that he cannot pass. Look away from him that he -- in this case, she -- may rest till like a hired man/woman, he finishes his days."

May God add a blessing to the reading of his word and may the people of God be nourished and edified by it, but most of all, may Satan be horrified.


To Bishop Ellis and all other distinguished bishops and members of the clergy, to the governor, the mayor, other distinguished elected officials, to members of the civil rights community, to the family of Mrs. Rosa Louise Parks, to friends and admirers, I wish to first say that, for the past few months, I have been spending most of my time caring for my mother.And my hat goes off to you, Mrs. Elaine steel, for your dedication and commitment in caring for Mrs. Parks.


And I know that my mother would want to be here today when I shared with her, when she heard the news of the passing of Mrs. Parks, she was saddened and very much wanted to be here with us on today, but asked that I would come and bring her remarks. And let me just say on her behalf, thank all of you for your prayers and your get-well wishes. She is doing extraordinarily well as she is rehabilitating from a major stroke.


And she will be back with a new flair and a new testimony for our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. It was a God moment, and God will get the glory. Amen.

And these are her remarks, if she were here today. Today we mourn the loss of the mother of the movement, a woman whose name will be forever etched in the hearts of freedom-loving people everywhere, Mrs. Rosa Louise Parks, and though we mourn the loss of this singular champion of racial justice, we also celebrate her homegoing as a woman of unwavering faith, who served God and humanity with unconditional love and devotion. Yes, she was a great heroine of the Montgomery movement, but she also dedicated her entire life to the eradication of racial and social injustices, with a particular focus on young people through the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute. Rosa Parks was the catalyst of one of the most important freedom movements, not only in American history, but in world history. Indeed, she became the symbol and the personification of our nonviolent struggle for liberation and human dignity.

Mrs. Parks was extremely well prepared to test the system of bus segregation. One of the most upright and respected citizens of Montgomery, she demonstrated unshakeable self discipline and commitment to the cause and refused to be intimidated by threats and violence. Mrs. Parks provided our movement with a matchless example of the very spirit of nonviolence. Her strength, humility, and unshakeable determination, her calm demeanor and quiet determination, all added immeasurable credibility to our freedom struggle. She sparked a prairie fire that continues to blaze brightly in the hearts of freedom-loving people in all nations, and the nonviolent revolution she set in motion continues to reverberate in nation after nation as an inspiration to human liberation movements everywhere.

Rosa Parks provided us a beautiful example of the power of one, how one courageous person can make a great difference in advancing human freedom. She showed us the power of humility and disciplined nonviolence in winning hearts and minds to support our freedom struggle. And she set for the entire world a vibrant example of African-American womanhood fully engaged in the work of building a more just and decent society.

Martin Luther King Jr. wrote that, Mrs. Parks was guided by her personal sense of dignity and self-respect, by the accumulated indignities of days gone by and the boundless aspirations of generations yet unborn. Mrs. Parks was one of those rare individuals who seemed to understand the spirit and the powers of nonviolence intuitive intuitively. Her personal qualities of strength and resolve and her extraordinary humility and ability to remain calm in the midst of a crisis served our freedom struggle very well indeed.

Mrs. Parks never sought the limelight, but she nonetheless launched a nonviolent revolution that still inspires people of all races, religions, and nations in their struggles for human rights and self determination. I thank God for sending us a leader of Mrs. Parks' extraordinary character, courage and determination.

Let us continue to honor her by redoubling our commitment to eradicate racial injustice in all forms. And in closing, I would like to add -- not Coretta, but Bernice -- that there's something that we must correct the record on, for I know indeed that the facts indicate that Rosa Louise Parks died on October 24th, 2005. But let the record really reflect that the truth is that prior to December 1st, 2005, she died, for indeed she was crucified with Christ, and it was no longer her that was sitting in that seat, but it was the Christ in her that was sitting in that seat. The reason she responded with poise and dignity against the insults and threats of the bus driver was not because she was small in stature, but because she was already dead. But also let the record reflect that I know the facts state that she refused to give up her seat. Well, I began to search the word of God. And I remember reading somewhere in the word of God that clarified for me that although that was the fact, that she refused to give up her seat, the truth is, according to Ephesians two and six, the reason she couldn't give up her seat is because she was already seated in heavenly places with Christ Jesus far above principalities, dominions and powers. And so that's why she could not give up her seat.

And so as we continue to forge forth ahead, let us all take her extraordinary example of self-sacrifice and dying to self for indeed, as the word of God said, if you save your life, you're going to lose it. But if you lose your life for Christ's sake, you shall gain it.

God bless you.


KAGAN: We've been listening in to Dr. Bernice King, daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., at the funeral of Rosa Parks, the civil rights pioneer. This service still will be going on for sometime. And our coverage continues after this break.


KAGAN: Just having a chance to talk with Andrew Young. We're watching the live coverage of the funeral of Rosa Parks in Detroit, Michigan, an event that's going on -- they scheduled it three hours, but I can't imagine they're going to get all the folks in who have kind words to say about Mrs. Parks in that three hours. And we've been watching quite a bit.

Want to welcome you back and welcome back former ambassador Andrew Young, former mayor of Atlanta, former -- as I said, we could take the whole three hours coming up with your former titles. You've been listening into the coverage, sitting here with me. You had a chance to pay your respects to Mrs. Parks at the service that took place earlier in Montgomery, Alabama. Your thoughts as you're watching this coverage?

YOUNG: Well, one of the things that's happening -- and it happened in Washington also -- this is a moment that, in spite of all of the divisions, seems to be bringing people together. People who disagree, people on both sides of the aisle politically. All have to -- it may be one of the few things in American history that everybody has to say, this was good, and it was good for America.

KAGAN: And this woman was good.

YOUNG: And this woman was good.

KAGAN: Earlier, we heard from former president Bill Clinton. A couple comments from him first, as he looks back on the life of Rosa Parks. Let's listen to that.


CLINTON: At 33, she finally got to vote. They couldn't figure out how to flunk her the third time on the literacy test. At 42, after attending a workshop on integration at the Highlands (ph) Folk School -- Highlander Folk School in Tennessee, she got on that bus with the same old driver and refused to give up her seat to a white man.


KAGAN: And as I welcome back Ambassador Young -- you were taken with a different comment that Bill Clinton had to say, in that he was talking about his experience of following the story as a 9-year-old boy in Arkansas.

YOUNG: And that he and three of his friends decided that they didn't have to sit in the front of the bus, that they began to go into the back of the bus. And I said that throughout the South, there were people of goodwill who understood that segregation was wrong and yet didn't know how to change it. That's the way -- reason I explained our ability to change things.

We changed Birmingham, for instance. When the law never changed, but when 100 businessmen decided that racial turmoil was bad for business, they began to hire black people. They began to allow people to serve at the lunch counters. They began to take down the signs. There is -- once someone appeals to conscience, there is an awakening of conscience in many people around.

KAGAN: And this was this one quiet woman in 1955 who did just that. We're going to continue our coverage watching what's taking place in Detroit, Michigan. I'm going to be welcoming in Tony Harris to join me for the next couple of hours. And we're trying to convince Ambassador Young to stick around a few more minutes. He's been so kind as to give us so much of his time already today. I think we have you what, for half hour more, can you give us?

YOUNG: Sure.

KAGAN: All right, it's a deal. We'll continue to watch and listen in Detroit, Michigan. And our coverage continues at the top of the hour. I'm Daryn Kagan.



© 2007 Cable News Network.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us. Site Map.
Offsite Icon External sites open in new window; not endorsed by
Pipeline Icon Pay service with live and archived video. Learn more
Radio News Icon Download audio news  |  RSS Feed Add RSS headlines