Aretha Franklin to be hailed as American institution at funeral

(Reuters) – Aretha Franklin, who reigned as the undisputed Queen of Soul until her death this month at the age of 76, will be buried in Detroit on Friday after a funeral that will include remarks by former U.S. President Bill Clinton and singing by Stevie Wonder.

A woman writes on a large drawing of Aretha Franklin outside the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History on the second day of a public viewing of the late singer in Detroit, Michigan, U.S., August 29, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Segar

The funeral, at Detroit’s Greater Grace Temple, will feature performances by those influenced by Franklin’s singular, soaring voice, including singers Chaka Khan and Ariana Grande.

It will mark her role, through songs such as 1967’s “Respect,” in scoring a soundtrack for the civil rights movement, with remarks from activists Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton.

Having sung at the inaugurations of three presidents, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, Franklin was an American institution, and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by former President George W. Bush in 2005.

Franklin died at her Detroit home on Aug. 16 from pancreatic cancer. She began her musical career as a child singing gospel at the city’s New Bethel Baptist Church, where her father, C.L. Franklin, was the pastor, famous for his hypnotic sermons.

The city has treated her death as the passing of royalty, her body laying in repose in the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History’s grand rotunda for two days of public visitation earlier this week.

Her coffin is to be entombed on Friday in Detroit’s Woodlawn Cemetery near the remains of her father; her brother, Cecil Franklin; and her sisters, Carolyn and Erma Franklin.

Reporting by Jonathan Allen in New York; Editing by Dan Grebler

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