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The New Bethel Mural Project

Aretha Franklin's home church raises money for mural of her

by Cara Bentley

New Bethel Baptist Church, where Aretha Franklin's father, Rev C.L. Franklin was the pastor from 1946-79, is now raising money to have a piece of artwork featuring Aretha and her father painted on one of the church's outside walls.

It's estimated to cost $375,000 if the wall is going to be preserved.

Rev C.L. Franklin is a noteworthy figure aside from his daughter's fame in the music industry.

He was a keynote speaker, invited by Rev Dr Martin Luther King Jr. in the civil rights 'Detroit Walk to Freedom' march in 1963 and a famous gospel preacher, broadcasting sermons every Sunday on a radio station.

The 'Queen of Soul' recorded her first album at the church and many concerts were held there throughout her upbringing and career.

The Baptist minister, Rev Jesse Jackson, announced on Tuesday in a press conference (below) that the church planned to make this tribute.

"To have on the side of this building this mural with Reverend C.L. Franklin and Aretha is entirely appropriate," Rev. Jackson said.

Next to him was a smaller version of what the mural would look like - with a profile of Rev Franklin on the left and Aretha Franklin on the right and the church behind them inbetween.

The current pastor of New Bethel Baptist church, Rev Robert Smith, said: "The wall is going to have to be treated in such a way that it doesn't fall apart."

On the second day of their GoFundMe page they only had $120 of the $375,000.

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