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Coretta Scott King Remembered in Six-Hour Funeral


Civil rights leader Coretta Scott King was remembered in a six-hour funeral service at the suburban Atlanta church where one of her daughters is a minister. President Bush and three former presidents paid tribute to Mrs. King, who died last week of complications from ovarian cancer.

Former President Bill Clinton was among more than three dozen speakers at what was called a "homegoing celebration" for King.

He challenged the 10,000 people in the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church to continue her work for non-violence and racial equality. "The one thing I always admired about Dr. King and about Coretta, when I got to know her especially, is how they embraced causes that were almost surely lost, right alongside causes that they knew if they worked at hard enough they could actually win. They understood that the difficulty of success does not relieve one of the obligation to try," he said.

Former President Jimmy Carter said Mrs. King was a worthy successor to her husband in carrying forward his great legacy. He said the government's response to last year's Hurricane Katrina illustrated that racial inequality still exists in the United States. "The struggle for equal rights is not over. We only have to recall the color of the faces of those in Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi," he said.

Bernice King, the youngest of the Kings' four children and a minister at the suburban Atlanta church, delivered the closing eulogy. She said her mother's purpose in life was to spread her father's message of peace and love. "Because when Martin came along, he introduced an alternative and that was called non-violence. And Coretta captured those words," she said.

Mrs. King was laid rest next to the tomb of her late husband at the King Center, in Atlanta.

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