DETROIT — Aretha Franklin had admirers the world over, but there’s no doubt the flame burned brightest in Detroit – the place she was raised and remained for most of her life.

It’s difficult to separate the singer from the city, so you better think that her town is saying farewell in royal fashion to its Queen of Soul, with a concert, public viewings and a funeral that’s expected to be attended by at least one former president, civil rights leaders and many other musical luminaries.

Here are some of the events and ways in which Detroit is paying respect to Franklin, who died Aug. 16 of pancreatic cancer at the age of 76:

Public viewings are planned Tuesday and Wednesday at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, which is also where civil rights icon Rosa Parks lay in repose after her 2005 death.

Thousands of mourners are expected to come to the museum.

The Friday funeral at Detroit’s Greater Grace Temple has an all-star lineup of performers, and speakers including former President Bill Clinton. It could last up to five hours.


Greater Grace Temple is calling on people with pink Cadillacs to line up before the funeral in an effort to create a “Freeway of Love” in tribute to Franklin. That’s a nod to her funky ’80s tune of the same name that prominently featured the car in the lyrics and video.

Those who line the route get a special perk: The driver of the Caddy and one extra person will be admitted to the funeral.

After the funeral, Franklin will be entombed at Woodlawn Cemetery in Detroit, along with her father, Rev. C.L. Franklin; and siblings Cecil Franklin, Carolyn and Erma.

The night before the funeral, a riverfront amphitheater will rock and roll with musical tributes to Franklin.

A Thursday evening concert will feature Gladys Knight, Johnny Gill, and many others.

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