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1/01/2006

Remains Of Rosa Parks To Be Turned Into Bus Seat

By Banfu T. Burnside, contributing editor

Interment plans have been finalized for the remains of civil rights activist Rosa Parks. Parks, who inspired the 1955 bus boycott in Montgomery, AL, and came to embody the struggle for African-American equality, will be turned into a cushioned bench following weeks of public viewing.

The seat will subsequently be installed "near the front" of a Montgomery Municipal transit vehicle, where it will provide respite to weary commuters on the vehicle's daily route.

"She won't find herself any further than three rows back," promised Barry Alfonz, public works mechanic for the city of Montgomery. According to Mr. Alfonz, the first two rows of city busses are now reserved for physically disabled passengers in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The state of Alabama retained the services of two local taxidermists and an upholsterer to oversee the incorporation of the remains into the bus seat.

" The early plans were pretty ghastly," admitted Lyle Henry, lead taxidermist. "But the city wouldn't commit to a chair bound in leathery human skin."

The new plans call for Parks's ashes to be added to a synthetic slurry that will eventually form the padding around a standard metal frame. A naugahyde cover will then be embroidered with the name "Rosa Parks" and the entire apparatus will be bolted onto the bus floor during a ceremony next month at the municipal garage.

The unusual memorial was proposed and entirely funded by Andre 3000, one half of the hip-hop duo "OutKast," which immortalized the activist with an eponymous single on their 1998 album Aquemini.

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