By Marianne Holman
More than 30,000 Americans lined the Capital Rotunda to pay tribute to Rosa Parks yesterday. The modern heroine became the first woman to lie and be honored in the Rotunda because of her defiant act that inspired the civil rights movement. This determined woman, remembered for her defiance on a city bus in the 1950s, died Oct. 24, 2005 at age 92.
Lines began early Sunday morning to pay tribute to Parks and continued through the day into Monday morning. Thousands of people had already passed before Sunday?s viewing even began. Many people gathered to mourn her death, including President Bush.
Along with many other American?s, students at BYU remember the influential woman.
?Because of her involvement in the civil rights movement, I have many of my rights today,? said Marcus McCoy, president of the BYU Black Student Union. ?She opened up a whole lot of opportunities for me, as an African-American male ? as an African-American period.?
Parks, often considered the catalyst to the civil rights movement, made history with her refusal to give up her seat on a bus in 1955. Parks was tired of treatment she and other African-Americans received everyday of their life, and decided she would do something about it.
?If it wasn?t for her courage ? stubbornness ? I don?t know what would have happened or how long it would have taken for the movement to come forth,? McCoy said. ?I decided to make that [eliminating racism] one of my goals, to try and fight for that today.?
Parks influence in the 1950s still influences McCoy.
?I am from Louisiana and I have experienced racism, been a victim of prejudices and what not,? McCoy said. ?Just knowing that she experienced those things and much more, makes me want to fight for that today, to eliminate prejudices.?
Along with being the first woman to lie in honor in the Rotunda, Parks shares the honor because of her contribution in American history with many other national leaders including Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy.
?She had multiple influences, both for African-Americans and for women,? said Sara Hoover, a freshman majoring in English from Traverse City, Mich. ?She gave minorities a voice, and reminded America it is important for minorities to have a voice.?
Parks? body will lie in state in Detroit at the Museum of African American History on Tuesday Nov. 1, from 6 a.m. to midnight before her funeral, which will be held Wednesday Nov. 2 at the Greater Grace Temple in Detroit.