Franklins

Where to see Aretha Franklin’s past and 9 other places to explore Detroit’s Black history

Before she was the Queen of Soul and a social justice crusader, Aretha Franklin was the songbird of New Bethel Baptist Church, located in Detroit’s 12th Street neighborhood.

“She was a very quiet kid, and she always liked to sing,” says Fannie Tyler, who worked as personal secretary for Aretha’s father, the Reverend C.L. Franklin, and as Aretha’s secretary coordinator for her gospel program.

“She grew up with Smokey Robinson and the Miracles. They were young kids together, Smokey, Levi Stubbs, Mary Wilson, and Jackie Wilson,” Tyler continues. Franklin’s father would invite gospel legends including Mahalia Jackson, Clara

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