DETROIT - On Thursday, fans flocked to the church Aretha Franklin grew up in to pay respect to the Queen of Soul.
“I grew up listening to the Queen of Soul. Our household played nothing but Aretha Franklin records,” said Janice Crawford. “We’re just big fans, so we came out to show our respect and gratitude for the Queen of Soul, a native Detroiter, because she blessed us with the richness of her voice and sound.”
Franklin was born in Memphis, Tennessee but moved to Detroit as a young girl and grew up in the Motor City.
Her father, the Rev. C.L. Franklin, was the pastor at New Bethel Baptist Church for years. It was at that time Franklin joined the gospel choir.
“My dad knew her, my dad knew her dad, and when she was younger my dad used to sing in the choir,” said the Rev. Karl Crawford. “He got to know his children, and one of his children was Aretha Franklin, that’s history.”
While the “Daughter of Detroit” will always be known for her music, she’ll also be remembered as an inspiration to the civil rights movement.
When R.E.S.P.E.C.T. was released in 1967, it became an anthem to social movements, not only for race, but also for gender.
"She brought respect to the city of Detroit, she brought royalty, dignity, grace. Her voice elevated the country not only for civil rights, but in the riots of Detroit, she was a peaceful voice of Detroit, and we just loved her soul,” said Crawford. "We’re going to miss her voice, going to miss her presence, but her music will live on forever. She’s gone physically, but her spirit and sound will never leave us.”
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