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Hundreds pay respects during Mel King’s funeral

The Honorable Byron Rushing, former state representative, delivered the eulogy. PHOTOS: DON WEST
PHOTO: DON WEST
PHOTO: DON WEST
PHOTO: DON WEST
PHOTO: DON WEST
PHOTO: DON WEST
The King family listens to closing hymnal “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around.” PHOTO: DON WEST
PHOTO: DON WEST
PHOTO: DON WEST
PHOTO: DON WEST
Mel’s daughter Nancy King and grandson. PHOTO: DON WEST
Joyce King, Mel’s wife, thanks Rev. Dr. Jay Williams of Union United Methodist Church. PHOTO: DON WEST
Olga, Mel’s sister and Pamela, Mel’s daughter, during the recessional. PHOTO: DON WEST

Hundreds turned out Tuesday for the funeral of former state Rep. and civil rights leader Mel King at the Union United Methodist Church in the South End. Elected officials, including U.S. Sen. Ed Markey, Mayor Michelle Wu, Gov. Maura Healey and U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley gave remarks during the funeral.

With the South End church filled to capacity, scores of well-wishers watched the funeral via video feed at the Bruce Bolling municipal building in Roxbury.

Speakers remembered King for his leadership in Boston during times of racial strife. His 1983 campaign for the mayor’s seat is widely seen as a turning point in the city’s march toward racial reconciliation, following the divisive years of school desegregation.

“At his core, Mel King was a humble and generous humanist,” Pressley said. “A deep well of knowledge, truth, wisdom and love. A well I am certain that runs to the deepest parts of the earth and will never run dry. A well that has renewed and fortified each of us.”

Monday, city officials and city councilors gathered at City Hall Plaza for a wreath-laying in King’s honor. Boston City Hall and other public buildings were lit up Monday night in the colors of the rainbow to recognize the multi-racial rainbow coalition political movement King initiated in 1979. PHOTOS: DON WEST