Aretha Franklin Fans pay their Respects at Open Casket Viewing in Detroit

Thursday, 30 Aug, 2018

The Queen of Soul died on August 16. "She was handsome", said nurse Monique Valentine.

On the second day of her public viewing, Aretha Franklin underwent an outfit change, wearing a pastel blue dress instead. Noted one official, "She is, indeed, resplendent in repose, as a queen should be".

Funeral arrangements were not directed by Aretha Franklin, Swanson said. She helped us feel more connected to each other, more hopeful, more human.

She said: "She called me one time, one time only, and she goes 'Hi, it's Aretha, ' and I'm like, 'Franklin?!" Indeed, a group of women was singing her hit "Freeway of Love".

"Through her compositions and unmatched musicianship, Aretha helped define the American experience".

"I broke down when I seen her".

Owens said she began planning for this week's festivities earlier this year. "And sometimes she helped us just forget about everything else and dance", they continued.

Delta Sigma Theta was founded in 1913 at Howard University in Washington, D.C. Among its members are poet Nikki Giovanni, pioneering congresswoman Shirley Chisholm, entertainer Lena Horne, actresses Ruby Dee and Cicely Tyson and civil rights activist Dorothy Height.

Former President Bill Clinton, Tyler Perry, Rev. Al Sharpton, and the Detroit Mayor and Michigan Governor are also scheduled to speak at the Friday service.

People sign boards with personal messages outside the Charles H Wright Museum of African American History
People sign boards with personal messages outside the Charles H Wright Museum of African American HistoryPAUL SANCYA AP

Paula Marie Seniors, an associate professor of Africana studies at Virginia Tech said it was a fitting tribute to the singer.

"Forever Our Queen", a banner at the museum read.

The venue was reportedly chosen because Rosa Parks's viewing took place there in 2005 and because it needs to accommodate the thousands of people expected to attend.

For all the formality, however, Owens said the viewings are meant to be welcoming and accessible for her legions of fans. Outside, they posed for snapshots next to her cream hearse.

The museum also plans to stage an exhibition honoring Franklin.

- Fans will have another chance to say their goodbyes to The Queen of Soul Wednesday in Detroit.

"It was handsome, like she's laying on a cloud", said Clemey Robinson.

Her signature song, "Respect" - recorded as a feminist anthem - became a rallying cry as African Americans rose up nationwide in the 1960s to fight peacefully for racial equality.

One of those fans, Cheryl Matthews, never met Franklin but felt close - and hurt by the loss. "She's always been here". Swanson said Franklin will wear different clothing in coming days.