Fans mourn Aretha Franklin at public viewing in Detroit

31 August, 2018, 18:45 | Author: Eloise Houston
  • Aretha Franklin

As her body was taken in a gold casket to prepare for its two-day stay at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History on Tuesday and Wednesday, followers of the singer lined the streets. "But to have done her birthday party [a few years ago] and to stand there and watch her watch me sing - Don, I had to fight back the tears the whole time".

"She was a symbol for us", Ann Fortson, 63, said after emerging from the rotunda. Her initial run of classic Atlantic albums - "I Never Loved A Man The Way I Love You", "Lady Soul" and "Aretha Now" - produced further glorious and legendary hits and set the stage for some roof-lifting performances in the late '60s and early '70s.

Greater Grace Temple's first lady Chrisette Ellis said people have responded from areas such as Dallas, Florida and Omaha, Nebraska to participate in this tribute to Franklin.

"If you ever received flowers from my aunt they would be big, attractive arrangements", Owens said.

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During the 50's, Franklin was surrounded by Civil Rights activists from a young age and spent her groundbreaking career supporting those who fought for equality-and setting an example of herself as an American success.

Detroit wanted to give the Queen of Soul a send-off that 'would match her legacy'. A police K-9 unit inspected around the entrance to the museum and parking was tight along the road. But the mood was festive with people sharing memories of Franklin. She came alone but made fast friends with others who sang and reminisced. Her brother, Timothy Robinson, lives in Eastpointe and came with her about 9 p.m. Monday to get a good spot in line. "I loved to play her songs".

Franklin's crimson dress, earrings and shoes signified her honorary membership in the Delta Sigma Theta sorority, which Owens said was planning a ceremony to be held Tuesday night to honor her aunt. "Call Me" was my favorite".

According to the Detroit Free Press, Franklin's body was transported to the museum in the same vintage 1940 Cadillac LaSalle hearse that previously carried her father, Rev. C.L. Franklin, and civil rights activist Rosa Parks following their respective deaths in 1984 and 2005.


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    Franklin's casket - believed to be solid bronze covered by 24-carat gold - had arrived Wednesday morning at the Charles H. An estimated 15,000 people came on Tuesday with a bigger crowd on Wednesday, one museum official told AFP.
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