House of Representatives approves to allow Rosa Parks' body to lie in US Capitol Rotunda

On October 28, 2005, the House of Representatives approved a resolution passed the previous day by the United States Senate to honor Parks by allowing her body to lie in honor in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda.

Since the founding of the practice of lying in state, or honor, in the Rotunda in 1852, Parks was the 31st person, the first woman, the first American who had not been a U.S. government official, and the second non-government official (after Frenchman Pierre L'Enfant) to be paid this tribute. She was also the second black person to lie in honor, after Jacob Chestnut, one of the two United States Capitol Police officers who were killed in the 1998 Capitol shooting. The 30th and 32nd persons to lie in the Capitol routunda were former presidents Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford, respectively.

Rosa Parks To Lie in Honor at Capitol Rotunda

Rosa Parks, the "mother of the civil rights movement," who died October 24 at the age of 92, is to lie in honor in the rotunda of the U.S. Capitol building in Washington from October 30 to October 31. She will be the first woman, the second African American and the second nongovernment official so honored.

Americans who previously lay in honor or in state at the Capitol include presidents Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan who was the last person to lie in state in 2004.

The rotunda is a circular room 29 meters in diameter and 55 meters in height directly below the dome of the Capitol building.

Authority for use of the Rotunda is usually granted by a concurrent resolution of the Hoouse or Senate.

More information about the rotunda and about Americans who have lain in state or in honor there can be found at the Architect of the Capitol's Web site.

Civil Rights Pioneer Rosa Parks Lies in Honor in Capitol Rotunda
The body of civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks was flown to Washingon DC Sunday night to lie in honor in the Capitol Rotunda. She is the first woman and second African American to lie in state. We speak with the Rev. Joseph and author Diane McWhorter and we go back to 1956 to air a rare interview with Parks aired on Pacifica Radio’s KPFA. [includes rush transcript]

Today, the body of civil rights pioneer, Rosa Parks lies in honor in the Captiol Rotunda in Washington D.C. She is the first woman and only the second African-American to receive the honor, usually reserved for Presidents, soldiers and politicians. Last Monday, Parks died at the age of 92 at her home in Detroit, Michigan. It was 50 years ago this December that Parks refused to relinquish her seat to a white man aboard a city bus in Montgomery, Alabama. She was arrested and convicted of violating the state’s segregation laws. Her act of resistance led to a 13-month boycott of the Montgomery bus system that would spark the civil rights movement and inspire freedom struggles all over the world. The bus boycott would also help transform a 26-year-old preacher named Martin Luther King Junior to national prominence.

This past weekend, thousands were in Montgomery, Alabama for Parks’ memorial service. On Saturday, mourners streamed past her open coffin to pay their last respects. On Sunday a service was held at St. Paul AME church where Parks was a member at the time of her arrest. Speakers included Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, the Rev. Al Sharpton and the Rev. Jesse Jackson.

Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of State, speaking October 30, 2005 in Washington DC.
Rev. Al Sharpton, October 30, 2005 in Washington DC.
Last night, Rosa Parks’ body was flown to Washington D.C where it lies in state at the Capitol Rotunda. Public viewing will take place today in the Rotunda and a memorial service will be held for Rosa Parks in D.C at the Metropolitan AME Church. Her funeral will take place on Wednesday in Detroit, Michigan.