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aretha1Photo Credit: Splash

Before his assassination, Rev C.L. Franklin was an admired preacher and civil rights activist who's famous sermons have been added to the National Recording Registry at the Library of Congress.

Known also for his singing voice, Franklin encouraged his daughter Aretha to sing in the churches where he would preach, unknowingly raising the future Queen of Soul.

Aretha Franklin returned to Detroit this week to honor her father and brother at the city’s New Bethel Baptist Church. Rev C.L. Franklin put the church on the map with his broadcast radio sermons, which were loyally listened to all over the city. Aretha’s brother passed away five years following the death of their father, shortly after becoming the acclaimed singer’s manager.

Hundreds of people packed the church to see Franklin. She thanked the audience for attending before singing one song, the gospel standard “The Old Ship of Zion,” with the help of the church choir and band. You can check out a video of her father performing that very song in the video below.

Franklin’s son, Eddie Franklin, also honored his grandfather with a performance of “His Eye is on the Sparrow.” Rev C.L. Franklin would have been 100 years old this year. 

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