Grieving Parks, Rights Leaders Ponder Future

The body of Rosa Parks lay in the Capitol Rotunda this morning, on view for thousands of Americans who wanted to honor the woman known as the mother of the civil rights movement. Her death last week has created a moment, many African-Americans engaged in political struggle say, to take stock of what that movement accomplished and whether it is still alive.

With the deaths this year of other major figures from a movement that once galvanized a mass following over issues like the right to vote, segregated lunch counters and a seat in the front of the bus, some say that not enough has been done to share that history with the young or to shape future leaders to carry on the cause. That movement has been replaced, in large part, by more dispersed struggles over issues like housing and employment, health care and incarceration.

"In the absence of dogs and hoses there is no immediate, obvious enemy before us, so it's harder to mobilize a sense of outrage," said Senator Barack Obama, an Illinois Democrat who is the only black member of the United States Senate. "Rosa Parks did not just sit down on her own initiative. She was part of a movement."

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