Aretha Franklin's 'Freeway of Love'
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has signed off on legislation that names a portion of a freeway after Detroit's own, Aretha Franklin.
The state will designate part of the Lodge Freeway (M-10) in Detroit as the “Aretha L. Franklin Memorial Highway". The stretch of 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.
The legislation was passed by the Michigan House in March and was recently passed by the Senate in June. In a statement on Monday, Whitmer noted that Franklin's "creativity and voice contributed to our musical and cultural history in Michigan."
The section to honor the “Queen of Soul” was chosen 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 is one of many honors the singer and pianist has received from the city she grew up in. 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’s located on the banks of the Detroit River and overlooks Windsor.
Aretha Franklin died in Detroit last August after battling pancreatic cancer.