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Detroit — Congregants celebrated the life of Aretha Franklin at her father’s Baptist church in Detroit at the first Sunday service since her death, with her powerful voice again ringing out within the church’s walls in tribute to her spectacular career.
Civil rights activist and former presidential candidate Jesse Jackson was given a standing ovation after stepping up to the microphone to eulogise his old friend, the "Queen of Soul." The New Bethel Baptist Church — located in a down-at-heel, quiet neighbourhood of Detroit — has been the focus of tributes to Franklin, who passed away from advanced pancreatic cancer on Thursday at age 76.
"It’s a happy day and a sad day," pastor Robert Smith Jr said at the start of the service. "We are sad that Aretha has gone," he said. "We’re happy that she’s free from the shackles of time."
The high-energy service opened with an impassioned dance performance from a girl in a red skirt to a recording of Franklin singing Precious Lord (Take My Hand) ...
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