Aretha Franklin Memorial Highway proposed for Detroit
Michigan would designate a portion of the M-10 Lodge Freeway in Detroit as the Aretha Franklin Memorial Highway under legislation introduced this week in the state House designed to honor the iconic singer.
Franklin died in August after a battle with pancreatic cancer, and “I think we’ve got to give her a little r-e-s-p-e-c-t,” sponsoring state Rep. Fred Durhal III, D-Detroit, told The Detroit News.
Durhal’s bill is co-sponsored by nearly 80 lawmakers, Democrats and Republicans, suggesting it could have a shot to advance this fall despite an abbreviated calendar. The state House is only set to meet 14 more times before the two-year session concludes in late December.
Under the proposal, M-10 would be called the Franklin Memorial Highway from 8 Mile to Interstate 94 in the heart of Detroit.
“I think it’d be a fitting tribute to the Queen of Soul who had been a Detroit icon, and someone who has fought for civil rights,” Durhal said, noting her father’s church started in his district.
“That’s known not only in Detroit, but nationwide, as you could see from her funeral. Folks around the country came here and wanted to pay her respect.”
M-10 is known by many names in Metro Detroit, including the Lodge Freeway in honor of former Detroit Mayor John C. Lodge.
The highway designation would be the latest in a series of planned tributes for Franklin, who was born in Tennessee but lived most of her life in Detroit and got her start in her father’s New Bethel Baptist Church.