Fans gather at New Bethel Baptist Church to pay tribute to Aretha Franklin

By Jermont Terry - Reporter, Dane Sager Kelly - Web Producer

DETROIT - Ever since the news broke of Aretha Franklin's death Thursday morning, fans have been gathering at New Bethel Baptist Church to pay their respects.

RELATED: Fans gather at New Bethel Baptist Church to celebrate Aretha Franklin's life, career

It rained on and off throughout the day, but damp conditions didn't stop residents from coming out to the church and showing their love for the Queen of Soul. The New Bethel Baptist Church, located on the corner of Linwood and Philadelphia streets, was where Franklin first sang. 

The mood at the church wasn't sadness, but pride for the music icon.

Resident Pam Harris came to the New Bethel Baptist Church to introduce her granddaughter Mariah to Franklin. As press from across the world converged in Detroit to honor the Queen of Soul, 8-year-old Mariah had a simple question for her grandmother when she heard the news -- who was Franklin?

"We were watching TV and she's looking at all the pictures of Aretha and I'm telling her, 'This is the Queen of Soul, she sings this song,'" Harris said.

That's when Harris knew she had to come down to Aretha's father's church to honor Franklin and give her granddaughter a history lesson.

"That's why I said I'm going to bring my granddaughter and let her see where it all started for the Queen of Soul," Harris said.

They aren't the only ones showing respect. Flowers, balloon and words of gratitude were left outside the church as residents honor the Detroit icon.

"If you're from the city of Detroit or the neighborhood or the inner communities, how could you not?" asked John Amerson.

Franklin's voice and gifts stretched beyond the Motor City -- her music reached people of all ages across the world.

"The songs she created -- she spoke on every single topic to teach you how to love the ladies, how to respect mothers, aunties and sisters," Amerson said. "Internationally, wherever she went in the world, she represented us."

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