This Day In History: March 25th
Whether she is singing for her R-E-S-P-E-C-T or performing for a president, Aretha Franklin has amassed a worldwide reputation for her musical talents. The singer was born on March 25, 1942, in Memphis, Tennessee.
Here are five things to know about the great Aretha Franklin!
- Possessed Musical Talent From An Early Age. Born to a Baptist preacher and a gospel singer, it is no surprise that Franklin’s musical abilities were first noticed in the church. She was reviewed as a child prodigy and much of what she learned was self-taught. Not only was she a gifted pianist, but she also had a powerful voice which led to her releasing the album Songs of Faith in 1956.
- A Strong Supporter Of Civil Rights And Activism. Although Aretha Franklin is known for her singing, she also used her platform to help fund civil rights campaigns. She worked behind the scenes to contribute to the movement and established relationships with figures such as Reverend Jesse Jackson. Franklin was even in support of Angela Davis after she was arrested in the 1970s.
- Her Voice Was Declared A Natural Resource. In 1985, Franklin’s voice was declared a natural resource of the state by Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources. The declaration came as part of a celebration to honor the Queen of Soul for more than 20 years in the industry. Not only, was her voice named a natural resource, but NASA also named an asteroid after her in 2014. The U.S. space agency named asteroid 249516, “Aretha,” in her honor.
- A Charitable Giver. Over the course of her career, Aretha Franklin became known for her charitable contributions. Her generous donations to Detroit earned her a Lifetime Achievement Award and she was named Michiganian of the Year in 2003. In 2008, the Grammy’s awarded Franklin the MusiCares Person of the Year award for her contributions to Save the Children and Easterseals as well as her support of local churches and food banks.
- An All-Around Winner And Hall Of Famer. In addition to an astounding three inauguration performances (Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama), Aretha Franklin has also been nominated for more than 40 Grammys. She won 18 of those nominations and 10 of her victories were for Best R&B Vocal Performance. She made history in 1987 when she became the first female artist to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Franklin also has her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and has been inducted into the NAACP Hall of Fame, and the Apollo Theater Legends Hall of Fame.
The award-winning singer achieved many milestones in music history. Aretha Franklin died on August 16, 2018, and fans from all over attended the public viewing held at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History to pay their respects to the famed singer.