What would it take to turn Detroit into Aretha Franklin’s Graceland? | Michigan Radio

What would it take to turn Detroit into Aretha Franklin’s Graceland?

Aug 28, 2018


Outside the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History today, hundreds of people lined up to bid their final farewell to Aretha Franklin.

The public visitation is part of a week of mourning and will take place Tuesday and Wednesday at the Wright Museum, with thousands expected to be in attendance. 


Rochelle Riley is a columnist at the Detroit Free Press. She joined Stateside’s Cynthia Canty to tell us what is expected of attendees at this week's events. 

Sir Diego Brazil waiting in line to pay his respects to the Queen of Soul.
Credit Imani Mixon / Michigan Radio

Riley said this week is Franklin’s final performance, and should be treated with the utmost respect. 

Looking beyond this week, Riley has some ideas for how the city can forever memorialize the Queen of Soul. She said there should be a museum that teaches visitors about Franklin’s musical legacy as well as her history as a civil rights activist.  Riley says that would establish Detroit as a tourist destination for music lovers, in the same way that Graceland is for Elvis fans.

“People come from all over the world to go to that little Hitsville USA house. Imagine having someplace else in Detroit where people can come and appreciate that," said Riley. 

Listen above to hear Riley discuss this Friday's private funeral, and why Detroit must lay claim to its musical heritage. 

You can read Riley’s Detroit Free Press column here


This post was written by Stateside production assistant Sophie Sherry. 

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