Blog Press Release

Civil Rights Leaders Honor Aretha Franklin

August 31, 2018

NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson joined esteemed civil rights leaders from around the country today in Detroit to honor the life and legacy of the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin. The day was filled with reflection, personal stories and above all a message to serve a higher purpose, commemorating Aretha Franklin’s legacy as an iconic symbol of black pride, and a steward of civil rights.

“As one of the nation’s most powerful and accomplished artists, her musical gifts played a significant role in advancing awareness of racial and social justice issues. We celebrate her unmitigated ‘Blackness’ and her contributions to national progress that have changed our society for the better,” said President and CEO Derrick Johnson.

As the greatest singer of all time, Aretha Franklin’s music touched the hearts and souls of millions, but it also served as the soundtrack of the Civil Rights Movement. Her contributions to art and national progress have left an unimpeachable mark and changed the world for the better. Civil Rights leaders, elected officials, musicians, actors, athletes, and fans from around the world paid tribute to the woman whose chart-topping hit ‘Respect’ became an anthem for a nation struggling to break free from the chain
of racism, segregation, and a staunch patriarchy.

This moment in history was a continued reminder to honor Civil Rights champions like Aretha Franklin who remained steadfast in their fight for justice throughout their lives. Their sacrifice demands the fullest reverence on this day and every day. Aretha Franklin’s voice and talent sung a narrative which encouraged and promoted all to stand up and take action. Her legacy commands the NAACP to continue the work she started and supported.