It may be a ‘natural’ for this woman
- Published: Feb 28, 2019, 7 AM
The Queen of Soul could be presented posthumously with a congressional gold medal if H.R. 1003, introduced in the 116th Congress on Feb. 6, is enacted.
The bill, “To posthumously award a Congressional Gold Medal to Aretha Franklin in recognition of her contributions of outstanding artistic and historical significance to culture in the United States,” was introduced in Congress. Introduced by Rep. Brenda Lawrence, D-Mich., it is co-sponsored by dozens of other representatives.
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Franklin was born in 1942 in Memphis, Tennessee, but spent most of her formative years in Detroit, portions of which fall within Rep. Lawrence’s district. From a start singing publicly at the age of 12 as a gospel singer, Franklin rose to national prominence in the 1950s, and was signed by Columbia Records in 1961.
Bringing a blend of traditional styles like gospel, folk, and soul combined with pop and the emerging rock-and-roll, she became an icon of the 1960s, performing at events as conspicuous as Dr. Martin Luther King’s funeral in 1968 and President Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2009.
In addition to her musical career, Franklin was a civil rights and women’s rights activist. She donated money to civil rights organizations and was jailed for protesting against institutional racism and inequality.
She was the first woman introduced into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987, received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, and the National Medal of Arts, was a Kennedy Center Honoree, and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005.
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