U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Gary Peters (D-MI), as well as Representative Brenda Lawrence (MI-14) introduced bicameral legislation to posthumously award the “Queen of Soul” Aretha Franklin the Congressional Gold Medal in recognition of her outstanding artistic and cultural contributions. The legislation was originally introduced in August 2018 in the wake of Franklin’s passing.
The Aretha Franklin Congressional Gold Medal Act would honor Franklin’s role in shaping the nation’s culturally and socially relevant discography, and highlight how she was an example to all people in how one person’s talents can make a difference in the lives of millions of people across the globe. The legislation is also cosponsored by Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA).
“Aretha Franklin’s voice and soul were truly larger than life,” said Senator Stabenow. “Awarding her the Congressional Gold Medal would further celebrate her legacy and recognize her contributions to the arts, civil rights and the City of Detroit. She will never be forgotten.”
“Aretha Franklin was a global icon and fierce advocate for civil rights, women’s rights and the City of Detroit,” said Senator Peters. “Awarding her the Congressional Gold Medal would be an appropriate tribute to a legendary talent who will continue to inspire artists and activists for generations, and I am proud to join my colleagues in this effort to honor the Queen of Soul.”
Aretha Franklin’s music served as a 1960s call to action that inspired thousands to join civil rights movements and still maintains a social context that resonates across these movements today.
Beyond her contributions to music and arts, Franklin was a philanthropic individual who supported causes related to civil rights, human health, and gender equality, in addition to causes within the creative arts.