“Aretha became a revolution by incarnating powerful ideas and desires that were sloshing around seeking a vessel strong enough to contain them. <br><br>Although she was a lifelong Democrat with a civil-rights activist father, Aretha did not embrace politics as fully as some of her peers. She was surprised that Respect captured “the need of a nation” the way it did, and that Chain of Fools became a hit with black troops in Vietnam. But she did release powerful versions of Curtis Mayfield’s People Get Ready and Sam Cooke’s A Change Is Gonna Come and recorded the blazing Think, with its battle cry of “Freedom!” just days after King’s funeral. By the early 70s, she was wearing an afro and a dashiki and naming an album after Nina Simone’s Young, Gifted and Black. An interviewer visiting her Manhattan apartment in 1971 noticed political texts by Frantz Fanon and Herbert Marcuse on the shelf. She was perhaps more radical in private than she was in public.”

"Aretha became a revolution by incarnating powerful ideas and desires that were sloshing around seeking a vessel strong enough to contain them.

Although she was a lifelong Democrat with a civil-rights activist father, Aretha did not embrace politics as fully as some of her peers. She was surprised that Respect captured “the need of a nation” the way it did, and that Chain of Fools became a hit with black troops in Vietnam. But she did release powerful versions of Curtis Mayfield’s People Get Ready and Sam Cooke’s A Change Is Gonna Come and recorded the blazing Think, with its battle cry of “Freedom!” just days after King’s funeral. By the early 70s, she was wearing an afro and a dashiki and naming an album after Nina Simone’s Young, Gifted and Black. An interviewer visiting her Manhattan apartment in 1971 noticed political texts by Frantz Fanon and Herbert Marcuse on the shelf. She was perhaps more radical in private than she was in public."

A voice that gave America its heart and soul: Aretha Franklin

From feminist anthems to painful songs of heartbreak, strident black politics to spiritual quests, Aretha Franklin became a pop-cultural titan – and a symbol of American strength
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