R-E-S-P-E-C-T For Aretha Franklin

The late Queen of Soul is getting some "Respect" from the Michigan legislature after they agreed to name a portion of a freeway after Detroit's own, Aretha Franklin.

The Michigan House voted 101-6 on Tuesday to designate part of the Lodge Freeway (M-10) in Detroit as the “Aretha L. Franklin Memorial Highway". The section of the freeway to be named in her honor starts at the intersection of Livernois Avenue and goes south to I-94. The roadway will still officially be known as M-10 though.

According to the bill's sponsor, the reason that section was chosen is because it starts near the New Bethel Baptist Church, where Franklin's father, the Reverend C.L. Franklin, was a pastor and where, as a child, she first began singing gospel music. It was there that her musical talents were first cultivated.  It ends at the I-94 junction because that freeway is a major east/west artery across the state and that is meant to symbolize Franklin's far-reaching appeal.

This isn't the first honor for the singer and pianist in her home city. Detroit designated a portion of Madison Street, between Brush and Witherell Streets, as "Aretha Franklin Way", which is the area that includes such concert venues as the Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts and the Detroit Opera House, among others. Also, the 6,000 seat outdoor concert venue at Chene Park was recently renamed the "Aretha Franklin Amphitheatre". It is located on the banks of the Detroit River and overlooks Windsor.

The legislation will go to the Michigan Senate for approval. Franklin died in Detroit last August after battling pancreatic cancer.


It's a fitting tribute as one of Aretha Franklin's biggest hits was 1985's "Freeway of Love" and the music video includes many shots of the Motor City and its freeways.


Music video courtesy of Arista Records/Sony Music