Aretha: Last Call in Detroit


Thousands lined up in the August heat of Detroit for the two-day Aretha Franklin Memorial at the Wright Museum of African-American History.

The memorial audience was in a great mood. RESPECT blasted from a local radio station tent.

The vendors marketed food, clothing, and jewelry to the surging audience.

Nation of Islam was also on hand for this festive event.

Personal tributes were displayed at the New Bethel Baptist Church where Aretha began her career singing with her minister father, The Rev. C. L. Franklin.

The public visitation line vibrated with joy and celebration for four hours along five blocks, snaking past the local liquor store.

“Aretha and Reverend Franklin often sang together. I loved them both. You could easily hear them at the back of the church.”

At least two wall murals have appeared, one just down the street from New Bethel on Linwood Avenue,

and the other an excellent illustration by Fel’le, who runs an art shop on Livernois Avenue.

Further North on the street, the marquee of Baker’s Keyboard Lounge made a much subtler mention. Additional memorials could be seen dotting the landscape.

The public outpouring for Aretha Franklin demonstrated immense pride in the nation’s favorite artist and her determination to speak up  for women and their relationships.    “If you want a Do-Right, Do Right woman, Then you got to be a Do-Right, Do-Right man.”


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