Hundreds mourn the Rev. Al Sharpton's mother

By ANDY BROWNFIELD | March 27, 2012 | 5:05 PM EDT

Rev. Al Sharpton eulogizes is mother Ada Sharpton during her funeral ceremony at the Center Missionary Baptist Church in Newville, Ala., Tuesday, March 27, 2012. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

NEWVILLE, Ala. (AP) — The funeral for the Rev. Al Sharpton's mother focused as much on her life as it did on her son and the civil rights movement.

Hundreds of people packed a church in southeastern Alabama on Tuesday to remember Ada Essie Sharpton. She died at 87 on Thursday after a battle with Alzheimer's disease and dementia.

Sharpton said when his mother was born in Springfield, Ohio, she couldn't vote and had to sit in the back of the bus. But he noted after she died, President Barack Obama sent a letter to her funeral.

Sharpton called his mother "Essie Mae," and said her journey was the country's journey.

Ada Sharpton was raised in Alabama and later moved to New York with her husband. She moved back to Alabama in 1989.