Thousands of mourners filed past George Floyd’s coffin before his funeral in his native Houston, Texas on Tuesday.
Many made the sign of the cross as they approached the open casket to say a last goodbye, while others took a knee or bowed their heads in silent prayer for a man who has become emblematic of the United States’s latest reckoning with racial injustice.
The six-hour viewing on Monday at the Fountain of Praise Church – which drew more than 6,000 people, organisers said – was the final stage in a series of ceremonies paying tribute to Floyd before he is laid to rest next to his mother in his hometown .
Mourners waited patiently in stifling Texas heat, wearing masks because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s bringing us together as a country,” said Kevin Sherrod, 41, who was accompanied by his wife and two sons, aged eight and nine.
“Being here with my boys means a lot,” Sherrod added. “It is a time in history, and they will remember they were part of it.”
Floyd’s death, the latest in a long line of similar deaths of Black men, women and children at the hands of police, has unleashed protests for racial justice and against police brutality in the US and around the world.
Some US cities have already begun to embrace reforms – starting with bans on the use of tear gas and rubber-coated bullets.