More than 200 fans slept overnight outside the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History where the Queen of Soul will be sitting in-state for two days for a public viewing, reports The Daily Mail.
The two-day public viewing kicks off the start of a four-day memorial and funeral for Aretha Franklin, who died from pancreatic cancer on August 16 at 76-years-old. The singer’s body arrived in a gold casket to the Detroit museum in her hometown of Detroit, Michigan. She was transported in a 1936 white LaSalle and was greeted by hundreds of fans waiting to pay their respects. The legendary singer’s body was laid out inside the museum, dressed in a lace-trimmed red suit and crimson satin pumps.
The Detroit Free Press recorded some of the fans’ reactions, who had slept outside the museum, hoping to be the first ones to bid their farewells.
Melissa Howard, who flew from Austin, Texas, to Detroit for the viewing, said, “She’s the Queen. She’s royalty. She’s worth it.”
Latonya McIntrye, 43, of Las Vegas, said, “I got here at 4:30 yesterday afternoon. I love Aretha.”
Another fan, Pat Turner, of Alexandria, Virginia, commented that she “got chills” when she saw the car pull up and the procession of the gold casket.
Franklin’s public visitation runs 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on both Tuesday and Wednesday at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, 315 E. Warren Ave., Detroit, Michigan.
On Thursday, the Queen of Soul will be moved to the New Bethel Baptist Church where there will be a viewing from noon to 4 p.m. At 6 p.m., a tribute concert, called “A People’s Tribute to the Queen,” will start at Chene Park Amphitheatre, 2600 Atwater St., Detroit.
On Friday, family and friends will hold a private funeral service for Franklin, where Bill Clinton, Smokey Robinson, Rev. Jesse Jackson, and Clive Davis will join other speakers to give speeches and honor the singer. The funeral will take place at 10 a.m. at Greater Grace Temple, 23500 W. Seven Mile Road, Detroit.
Many of the fans paying their respects today at the museum told the Detroit Free Press how Franklin touched their lives.
Teresa Massey Walker, of Buffalo, New York, said, “When we were little girls, we would all dress up a little and sing her songs in the living room.”
Walker’s brother, Timothy Robinson, commented, “I was a DJ in high school. I loved to play her songs. ‘Call Me’ was my favorite.”