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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Michael Brown laid to rest with recollections and calls to action

Lesley McSpadden, mother of Michael Brown is held by an unidentified woman as she approaches the casket of her son at the beginning of Brown's funeral at Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church on Monday, Aug. 25, 2014. Photo by Robert Cohen,

ST. LOUIS • Shortly before Michael Brown died, his stepmother was admitted to the hospital. He became convinced she wasn’t going to make it.
“Because I’ve been dreaming about death,” Cal Brown recalled her stepson saying, recounting a conversation at his funeral Monday that the two of them had in early August. Several days later, a police officer shot Michael Brown on Canfield Drive.
Members of Brown’s family believe he prophesied his own death. About 4,500 people filled Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church to pay their respects to Brown, the teenager whose death has stirred a movement. Many said the images of his body lying in the street on Aug. 9 sent a message of marginalization that they could no longer ignore.
It brought people to his funeral who had never met Brown. It brought mostly African-Americans, some who spent more than 12 hours driving from cities as far as Atlanta because they felt a strong connection to him despite knowing little about his life. He reminded them of their own sons and grandsons, and the difficult conversations they have had to have with their children about how to avoid getting shot by a police officer.
As Brown’s body lay at the front of the sanctuary, inside a black metal casket trimmed in gold, he was mourned by his mother and father and stepparents. Lesley McSpadden sat nearest to her son’s casket, gently rocking back and forth. Michael Brown Sr. wore a tie with an image of his son’s face on the bottom.
(There is a brief glitch in the video from about 25:35 to 31:36)

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