Respect: Aretha Franklin’s Musical Civil Rights Journey




In Her Voice, We Could Feel Our History

Aretha Franklin Rose with the Civil Rights Movement


Aretha Franklin spent the turbulent 60s building her career, and in 1967 released “Respect”, her most famous song, and one that became inextricably linked to the civil rights and feminist movements of the time.

“I was stunned when it went to No. 1,” Franklin recalls, “and it stayed No. 1 for a couple weeks. It was the right song at the right time.”

Franklin, had it written into her contract in the 60s that she would never perform for a segregated audience, was glad that the song became linked to feminist and civil-rights movements. She added that the line “you know I’ve got it” has a direct feminist theme.

“As women, we do have it,” she says. “We have the power. We are very resourceful. Women absolutely deserve respect. I think women and children and older people are the three least-respected groups in our society.”   – Aretha Franklin

Respect takes a captivating journey through Franklin’s life, highlighting her commitment to fairness and equality.  From her upbringing in the church with her father, C.L. Franklin, a Baptist minister and a civil-rights activist, to her tour with Dr. Matrin Luther King, Jr. as a teenager and beyond. Listen and feel the power of her music, as an ensemble of performers sings stirring renditions of Franklin’s most iconic songs.  From gospel standards to the soulful tunes that solidified her reign as the anointed Queen of Soul, this moving multimedia presentation will inspire.


  • PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS: Integrated video projection, live performance
  • PROGRAM DURATION: 45 Minutes
  • PROGRAM MATERIALS: Teaching Resource Guide
  • CORE CURRICULUM & TOPICS: Humanities, Diversity, Language Arts, Social Studies, Literature, Visual Arts, Black History, Civil Rights, Music education.