Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has approved a bill to designate a portion of the M-10 motorway in Detroit as the “Aretha L. Franklin Memorial Highway,” according to the Associated Press.
Whitmer, a Democrat said in a statement that Franklin’s “creativity and voice contributed to our musical and cultural history in Michigan.” She also had a hit in 1985 with the song “Freeway,” from her comeback album “Who’s Zoomin’ Who.”
The singer died last August after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.
Supporters of the designation noted the singer’s deep roots in Detroit, where she was raised and lived for much of her life, including her last years. Her father, the Rev. C.L. Franklin, was a nationally famous minister based in the city. Some Republicans who opposed the bill, however, have said such designations should only go to deceased first responders and military veterans, according to the AP.
Franklin was the most lionized and lauded female R&B vocalist of her era. Winner of 18 Grammy Awards, and a Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement honoree in 1994, she became the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. She was the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the National Medal of Arts and the Kennedy Center Honors. Earlier this year, the long-delayed film “Amazing Grace,” culled from her gospel concert in Los Angeles in 1972, was finally released to rapturous reviews.