Detroit schools chief proposes naming a school after Aretha Franklin
As the world mourns the loss of the undisputed Queen of Soul, Detroiters are considering how they will keep Aretha Franklin's legacy alive in the city.
There are ongoing discussions and social media posts about ideas for memorializing Franklin, who died Thursday morning after a battle with pancreatic cancer.
One of the first ideas voiced publicly was naming a Detroit school after Franklin.
"The world lost a genius yesterday," Detroit Public Schools Community District Superintendent Nikolai Vitti wrote on Twitter Friday. "Time to name one of our schools after Aretha Franklin?"
Vitti said later in a statement that a school naming would have to go through the proper channels.
"Looking across the names of our schools I see opportunities to strengthen and better represent our city's rich history while also improving our schools' branding," Vitti said. "Aretha Franklin's name would certainly accomplish this but this is my own sentimental and strategic thought that would require extensive community and school board engagement and consideration."
Alexis Wiley, Chief of Staff for Mayor Mike Duggan, said while it's too early to announce any plans for Aretha Franklin memorials, officials are "thinking of a lot of different things."
“The mayor I’m sure will do everything he can to ensure that her memory and her impact on Detroit and the world is recognized and respected for years to come," Wiley said. “We are being respectful of the family and letting them take the lead.”
Officials at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History say they have no immediate plans for memorializing Franklin. However, there are media reports saying Franklin's body will lie in repose at the Charles H. Wright Museum before the funeral.