Flags flew at half staff outside the historic church, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his final speech, and the entrances were draped in purple and black bunting.
Celebration music played over the church public address system inside. Two screens lowered from the ceiling played a slide show of Patterson's life. Patterson lay in a casket wearing his white vestments with red trim. His gold-rimmed spectacles rested upon his face.
Today's viewing began a four day home-going celebration that will culminate with a Saturday morning funeral. Former president Bill Clinton reportedly will attend. Patterson died of heart failure last week at the age of 67.