Hundreds gather at New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit to celebrate Aretha Franklin's gospel roots

Artists honor Aretha Franklin at her father's church

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DETROIT – Artists came together Monday in Detroit to honor Aretha Franklin at the place where her career began.

The line to get into New Bethel Baptist Church stretched down the block. The humid night couldn't keep fans from coming out to the first of many tributes for Franklin.

David Chambers is among those who waited in the heat. He said he never thought twice about going to the event.

"I should have been here three hours early, but hey, I'm here," Chambers said.

He was there with hundreds of other fans for the chance to walk into Franklin's childhood church to honor the woman he admired.

"She's not gone," Chambers said. "She's still here because we have that everlasting voice. (Nobody is) going to sing like her."

Inside the church, the Franklin celebration choir sang praise songs for the Queen of Soul's life.

Franklin first took to the mic inside the church's walls.

"She started here in Detroit," gospel artist Dorinda Clark-Cole said.

Clark-Cole said she remembers going to Detroit's near west side to perform with Franklin.

"She did so much for me and my sisters," Clark-Cole said. "She sang at my mother's funeral."

Clark-Cole returned to the church to belt out praises for Franklin and her legacy.

"All those in the neighborhood are coming out in droves just to even see the memories that she imparted right here on this corner," Clark-Cole said.

About the Authors:

Derick is a Senior Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.