WATCH: Aretha Franklin Wears Red Stilettos and Cocktail Dress in Solid Gold Casket at Detroit Museum as Hundreds of Fans Pay Their Respects to Queen of Soul

Aretha Franklin’s body arrives in a gold casket at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in her Detroit, Michigan, hometown on Tuesday morning

Fans lined up on the sidewalk after sleeping overnight outside of Detroit’s Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History to get their final glimpse of Aretha Franklin.

The legendary Queen of Soul lay in a solid gold casket and wore a red cocktail dress and matching red stilettos. Franklin died from pancreatic cancer on August 16 at 76 years of age.

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A vintage white LaSalle carrying Franklin’s body in a casket arrived in her hometown of Detroit, Michigan, on Tuesday morning as her two-day public viewing began. Many fans from Detroit and other parts of the U.S. had camped outside the museum for an opportunity to see Franklin while she is lying in state. The museum previously held a public viewing for civil rights icon Rosa Parks after her death in 2005.

Franklin’s body, seen in its shining gold casket, will be lying in state at the museum Tuesday and Wednesday from 9am to 9pm
Fans are able to see Franklin one last time while her body is displayed in an open casket during her public viewing
Franklin can be seen resting in her shining gold casket with her legs crossed, wearing a red dress and matching stiletto heels
Beginning at 9am Tuesday, fans were allowed into the museum to pay their respects to Franklin in her open casket
Thousands are expected to go to the Wright Museum to pay their respects during Franklin’s two-day public viewing period
Franklin’s fans were visibly emotional ask they walked past her casket, getting a glimpse of the singer for the final time
Fans were seen comforting each other as they walked past Franklin’s body on Tuesday morning

Fifty-year-old Melissa Howard of Austin, Texas, told the Detroit Free Press that she had been a fan of Franklin’s music since she was a child and flew into Detroit the day before so she wouldn’t miss the public viewing.

Fifty-nine-year-old Charles Thomas said he was there to celebrate Franklin’s accomplishments and the work she did to advance the Civil Rights Movement, “She helped the movement — her and Sidney Poitier and Harry Belafonte. She went through the back door so people who look like me could go through the front door.”

Thousands are expected to visit the museum in the coming days. Franklin’s public viewing will be open from 9 am to 9 pm on Tuesday and Wednesday. On Thursday, between 12 pm and 4 pm, her body will be moved to her late father Rev. C.L. Franklin’s church, New Bethel Baptist. On Thursday night at 6 pm, the Chene Park amphitheater will host ‘A People’s Tribute to the Queen’, a free concert featuring tributes by Gladys Knight, Johnny Gill, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Angie Stone, Keith Washington, and others.

Franklin fans were seen carrying concert posters among other Franklin memoribilia to the public viewing
Specially-made t-shirts featuring Franklin’s image were also worn by fans attending the singer’s public viewing

Franklin’s funeral will be held Friday at Detroit’s Greater Grace Temple. The service is open to family and friends only and will feature performances by Yolanda Adams, Stevie Wonder, Jennifer Hudson, Shirley Caesar, Faith Hill, Fantasia, Ron Isley, Chaka Khan, Jennifer Holliday, and Franklin’s son, Edward Franklin. The funeral will also include speeches by former President Bill Clinton, Bishop T. D. Jakes, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rev. Al Sharpton, Smokey Robinson, Cicely Tyson, former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Clive Davis and Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder. Rev. Jasper Williams Jr., pastor of Atlanta’s Salem Baptist Church, will deliver the eulogy.

After the funeral, Franklin will be buried at Woodlawn Cemetary in Detroit, where her father, Rev. C. L. Franklin; brother, Cecil Franklin; sisters, Carolyn Franklin and Erma Franklin; and nephew, Thomas Garrett, are also buried. Woodlawn is also the burial ground of Rosa Parks.

LaTonya McIntyre (second from left) was the first person to stand on line outside the Wright Museum, waiting for her chance to say goodbye to Franklin
Hundreds of fans watched as Franklin’s casket was carried into the museum Tuesday morning in preparation for the viewing
Franklin fans from her Detroit hometown and across the country waited outside the museum to pay their respects to Franklin
Many fans lined up and slept outside the museum overnight to ensure they secured a spot on line for the public viewing
Aretha Franklin performed at the Elton John AIDS Foundation Fall Gala in New York City on November 7, 2017. It was her last public performance before her death on August 16

— Blair Halliday

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