ST. LOUIS — On Monday, 18-year-old Michael Brown was remembered in a funeral service by family, friends and thousands of people who never met him but mourned his death as symbol of injustice and inequality in America.
At least 5,000 people attended the service at Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church. Members of Congress, entertainers, and civil rights activists were among those who gathered for the funeral.
Among the highlights from the two-hour memorial:
A CALL TO ACTION: Michael Brown’s cousin, Eric Davis, told the audience that Brown had told his family shortly before he died that the world would someday know his name. Davis said he wants part of Brown’s legacy to be an increase in voter participation from the African American community.
"This generation stood up … and said we have had enough of seeing our brothers and sisters killed on the street," Davis said. "Show up at the voting polls and let your voices be heard."
A BIGGER MESSAGE: Brown's uncle, Rev. Charles Ewing of St. Louis, cited the story of Cain and Abel from the holy book of Genesis, and spoke of blood crying out from the ground. "Am I my brother’s keeper?" Rev. Ewing said, urging others audience to ask of each other.
"Michael Brown’s blood is crying from the ground," Ewing said. "It is crying for vengeance! It is crying for justice!"
A RENEWED CALL FOR JUSTICE: Benjamin Crump, the head attorney representing Brown’s family, tied the death to the Dred Scott Supreme Court decision, which originated in St. Louis more than 160 years ago. The decision declared that black people could not be recognized as U.S. citizens. He also cited the Three-Fifths Compromise of 1787, which counted slaves as 3/5ths of a person.
"We declare here today that (Brown) was not three-fifths of a citizen!" Crump told the cheering crowd. "He was an American citizen! We will not settle for three-fifths of justice! We will demand equal justice for Michael Brown Jr.!"
A CALL FOR PEACE: The Rev. Al Sharpton, who has counseled Brown’s family and called for calm in the community over the past two weeks, urged accountability in the black community, and called out the rioters and looters who have distracted from the tragedy.
"Michael Brown does not want to be remembered for a riot," Sharpton said. "Michael Brown wants to be remembered for how we deal with police in the United States. This is not about you. This is about justice."
A CALL FOR CHANGE: Sharpton also called for changes in how police treat minorities. The National Black Caucus of State Legislators issued a proclamation stating their intention to address the issue.