Mementos Of MJ Buried At Storied Detroit Cemetery - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Mementos Of MJ Buried At Storied Detroit Cemetery

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DETROIT (AP) - Woodlawn Cemetery is the final resting place for civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks and many of the Motor City's musical elite, including members of the Four Tops and living legend Diana Ross also has a site reserved.

Michael Jackson is among them - in spirit, at least.

Hundreds of stuffed animals - some wearing a single white glove - and other memorabilia left outside the Motown Historical Museum in memory of the man whose career started at Motown Records were buried Friday in two vaults at the cemetery. Police led two hearses filled with the items and seven cars with funeral flags flying in a procession from the museum to the ceremony.

"Detroit was where he was able to capture that star, hold it in his hand and put it in his heart and become who he became," John Mason, a radio personality and Detroit Pistons announcer said at a brief remembrance at the "grave site."

The cemetery had two donated plots, and private companies provided the free vaults and a granite headstone engraved with a tribute to Jackson. About 40 people attended the ceremony.

Mason said the hundreds of people offering flowers, letters, cards, photos and other items to a temporary memorial outside the Motown museum wanted to share "pieces of our love for Michael."

Many felt "as if a family member ... had died without us having a chance to say goodbye," he said.

The 50-year-old Jackson died June 25 in California. He signed to Motown Records in the late 1960s with his brothers as the Jackson 5.

Tracy Fowlkes-Elijah, area director for Woodlawn Cemetery, suggested to museum officials the items be buried at the cemetery because of its link to Motown. She wanted to see the mementos treated with respect.

"There (were) people there at the museum tending to this shrine ... every day, fixing it," she said. "It's no different than when you see somebody that gets killed in a car accident and you see a shrine at that corner. People go where they feel they can memorialize."

Detroit Police spokesman John Roach said the five-mile escort involving four patrol cars was not approved by top department officials and such policies will be reviewed.

"It's absolutely unacceptable and inappropriate at a time when the community as well as the police department is screaming about not enough officers on the street," he said.

Paula Marie Seniors, a professor of sociology and African-American studies at Virginia Tech, drove in the processional. She said she was in Detroit doing research when she learned about the event and thought it was important to take part.

While she recognized the entire affair might seem extravagant for some in an economically depressed city, she said even symbolic ceremonies provide meaning for people seeking an outlet for mourning or celebrating.

Motown museum Chief Operating Officer Audley Smith said some donated items will become part of an exhibit honoring Jackson. The museum has seen a significant increase in attendance and merchandise sales since Jackson's death.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.

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