Aretha Franklin is deceased, her publicist told the Associated Press. She was 76.
DETROIT – Standing on the stage where he helped almost 35 years ago her father to praise, the Venerable Jesse Jackson on Sunday lionized Aretha Franklin not for her music, but for her service to the civil rights case.
With a voice so gentle that people in the crowded room of the New Bethel Baptist Church shouted that his microphone was supposed to come up, Jackson painted a picture of the world in which Franklin was born – one in which black means a life of struggle.
"Aretha was born in a hut in Memphis," Jackson told the crowd, adding that 225 blacks were lynched in Tennessee in 1942. "She was born in the midst of oppression, then Black Lives Matter was said."
The Queen of Soul died of pancreatic cancer on Thursday. She was 76.
When Franklin started as a singer, she often stayed in private homes as there were no hotels that left blacks, Jackson said.
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But Franklin was determined to change that, Jackson said. He noted that her father, C.L. Franklin, the superstar pastor of New Bethel, was a leader in the civil rights movement, something Aretha did, even working behind the scenes.
Jackson once remembered Martin Luther King Jr. risked a bankruptcy.
"She went on an 11-city tour with Harry Belafonte and gave all the money to Dr. King," Jackson told the church.
"She has a crown of jewels (now in heaven)." Jewels for singing. "
The crowd filled New Bethel to honor Franklin in her home church just a few days after her death. The cornerstone on the outside of the church building notes that when the congregation moved to the site in 1963, the Rev. C.L. Franklin was the predecessor. Aretha is mentioned as a pattern on the big stone.
An improvised memorial covered the walls and sidewalks on both sides of the main entrance. Balloons moved in the breeze while parishioners walked with flowers, some still in their plastic bouquet casings. All morning people stopped – or in one case riding a bike – to make photos or make their own tributes.
Inside, the new Bethel preacher Robert Smith Jr. opened. the service.
A woman raises her hands in prayer as the Venerable Jesse Jackson speaks during a service honoring Aretha Franklin at the New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit on August 19, 2018. (Photo: Ryan Garza, Detroit Free Press)
"It's a sad day … Aretha has disappeared from our eyesight and the range of our hand, "but it is a happy day because she is in heaven, he
Carissa Wells, 45, from Detroit, came to New Bethel on Sunday morning, even though she did not know Franklin personally, or did not go to the church.
"My mother always played (Franklin) music when I grew up," she said. "Every time I hear from her, I feel like 8 years old again." My mother died a few years ago, but I know she wanted me to come today, it's a way to honor them both. "
Franklin's civil rights streak has not faded with time, a point made by Ralph Godbee, the former head of Detroit police and current police chief for the district of Detroit public schools.
& # 39; I remember once when I was police chief, my assistant who came in and gave me a note stating that Aretha Franklin was on the phone. I went to my office and straightened my uniform, as if she could see me. There was no FaceTime at that time. There is something about when a queen calls.
"I picked up the phone and she cursed me, I have never had the honor of being cursed."
Turns out a Detroit officer had done something with a Franklin's relative who, according to Franklin, wrote about the writings The officer apologized when he met Franklin.
Franklin told Ombee that something was wrong – what if the person was not connected to Franklin? Why were his officers who did not treat Detroiters better?
That was an example of Franklin's dedication to championing people and her love for Detroit, said Ombee. "There is a revival in this city and it will be on the back of the queen's mind," he said.
Franklin's funeral will take place on August 31 in Greater Grace Temple. It is only by invitation.
Greater Grace, which seats around 4,000, has been the site of funerals for many notable figures from Detroit, including Rosa Parks, Marcus Belgrave and the Four Tops & # 39; Levi Stubbs.
The funeral follows a public tour on 28 and 29 August at the Charles H. Wright Museum for African-American History in Midtown Detroit, where Franklin will be in the state. The tour runs from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm.
More: All Aretha Franklin homages you should know
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