Aretha Franklin (1942)
The daughter of the Rev. C.L. Franklin, Aretha Franklin was born in Memphis, Tennessee. Both her parents were musical and sang gospel. As a teenager, she too sang gospel with her two sisters Carolyn and Erma. She made her first recordings as a gospel artist at the age of 14. In the late '60s, Franklin became one of the biggest international recording stars in all of pop. Many also saw Franklin as a symbol of Black America itself, reflecting the increased confidence and pride of African-Americans in the decade of the civil rights movements and other triumphs for he Black community. The chart statistics are impressive in and of themselves: ten Top Ten hits in a roughly 18-month span between early 1967 and late 1968, for instance, and a steady stream of solid mid-to-large-size hits for the next five years after that. Her success has earned her the nickname "Lady Soul" or "the Queen of Soul."
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Looking for a famous American?
This page presents short biographies of more than 200 famous Americans drawn from our unit, "The 50 States." These personalities are arranged by theme.
Just click a theme at the top of the page to view a selection list for that theme.
|Gutzon Borglum||Walt Disney||Jabez Gorham|
|Matt Groening||William Hanna||Marsden Hartley|
|Winslow Homer||Peter Hurd||Hank Ketcham|
|Bill Mauldin||Jackson Pollock||Howard Pyle|
|Norman Rockwell||Charles Schulz||Gilbert Stuart|
|Frank Lloyd Wright||Andrew Wyeth|
|Phineas Taylor "P.T." Barnum||Clyde Barrow||John Wilkes Booth|
|Butch Cassidy||William "Buffalo Bill" Cody||Davy Crockett|
|Jesse James||Evel Knievel||Harland David "Colonel" Sanders|
|Jefferson R. "Soapy" Smith|
|Benny Benson||Sitting Bull||Cesar Chavez|
|John Dewey||Geronimo||Crazy Horse|
|Jesse Jackson||Chief Joseph||Martin Luther King, Jr.|
|Queen Lydia Liliuokalani||Russell Means||Osceola|
|Elizabeth Peratrovich||Sacagawea||Chief Washakie|
|Booker T. Washington||Jack Wilson Wovoka|
Pioneers and "Firsts":
Politicians & Activists:
|Hank Aaron||Andre Agassi||Danny Ainge|
|Johnny Bench||Yogi Berra||Paul "Bear" Bryant|
|Dale Earnhart||Lou Gehrig||Eric Heiden|
|Michael Jordan||Evel Knievel||Phil Knight|
|Joe Reddington||Mary Lou Retton||Picabo Street|
|Jesse Ventura||Jerry West|
Writers & Poets: