Music icon Aretha Franklin was laid to rest on August 31 in a mausoleum in Woodlawn Cemetery in Detroit. According to USA Today, Franklin was interred in the main mausoleum at the cemetery where leaders of the civil rights movement such as Rosa Parks and Franklin’s father, Rev. C.L. Franklin, are also interred. Auto baron Edsel Ford and his wife Eleanor are also buried there.
Franklin’s internment was not available for public viewing. When she was first laid to rest, there was a large crowd outside the mausoleum which has a series of marble rooms, with different color marble in each room. Franklin and her father are buried in a room with opulent white marble and each name listed in gold lettering.
When news of Franklin’s death was announced, there had been a media frenzy. The large crowd outside her final resting place has dwindled now, with only the occasional visitor.
“I wanted to make sure it was real,” said 69-year-old Linda Ferrell. Ferrell, who had been friends with one of Franklin’s sisters, said that seeing Franklin’s tomb makes “[her death] sink in. You know she passed, but this brings it home.”
Ferrell had been one of the mourners who waited outside the cemetery for Franklin’s hearse to drive past. She said that her visit to the cemetery is not so she could see the final resting place of the Queen of Soul, but of Franklin, a woman who had been “at the fringe of [her] family.”
“They were people, too. They were neighbors like everybody else,” said Ferrell, referring to Franklin and other celebrities who have passed away recently.
Calvin Jackson, 69, also spoke to the effect that Franklin’s death had on him, saying that visiting her grave “is definitely a tearjerker.”
Jackson grew up in the same neighborhood as Franklin, but they had never been friends. Though he said he never had a connection with her personally, he felt a deep connection to her music.
“Now when I hear her music, it definitely brings a tear to my eye. It has more meaning and more impact,” he said. “‘Since You’ve Been Gone,’ you know, that was nice dancing music back in ’67, in my dancing days. Now when I hear it, it just has a greater impact. It’s almost like the music has slowed down for you to really understand what she was saying.”
He added that Franklin’s music has had a lasting effect on people, and though she’s gone, her music will live on.