Pay Some R-E-S-P-E-C-T at the Birthplace of Aretha Franklin in Memphis, Tennessee
The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, just celebrated her 75th birthday on Saturday, March 25, so I found it incredibly fitting to write something about my favorite diva!
When you think of Memphis, what musicians come to mind? Elvis Presley? BB King? Well, now you can add Aretha Franklin to that list! Did you know that she was born in Memphis? The story that we read at the Stax Museum said she was born on the kitchen table of this little house!
The Franklin family moved from Tennessee to New York when young Aretha was only two, and then moved on to Detroit, Michigan where Aretha would get her start singing in her father’s church. So, I suppose it makes sense that few people associate her with Memphis.
See Related: Touring Legendary Sun Studio in Memphis, Tennessee
The small home, located at 406 Lucy Avenue, is abandoned in spite of its historic significance to the city. If you’re planning a visit to the Stax Museum of American Soul Music (originally a recording studio), the home is only about a mile away. Many of the Stax artists lived in and around this neighborhood.
We consider ourselves somewhat “locals” of Memphis. We both grew up in the area, just across the state line in Mississippi. If there’s one thing that we are taught about Memphis, it’s that we should always be aware of our surroundings and be wary of certain neighborhoods.
Though this area did have some abandoned buildings, we never felt unsafe. A few people were out and about, looking at us knowingly. I felt like they were proud that people were coming to see this significant home that is obviously special to the nearby residents. Even though we never felt threatened, we kept our distance from the house, took a few quick photos, and went on our way, making sure to disturb no one.
According to a Memphis Tribune article that came out just yesterday, the house was once ordered to be demolished, but volunteers stepped in to stabilize the house. As you can see in the photo above, the windows are boarded up. There is no historical marker of any kind on the property.
Also according to the Tribune article, the mayor of Memphis is currently looking at options for saving the house. It could be moved to a “safer” location. I hate to see it moved, but the home is so special and has such a significant history that it should be restored and available to be seen and loved by Aretha Franklin’s fans and visitors to Memphis.
Have you visited this home? What about other significant birthplaces or homes? What would you like to see happen with this house? Let us know in the comments below!
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Jennifer is the founder of Just Chasing Rabbits travel blog. She lives in Mississippi with husband/travel companion, Mark, and three fur babies. After obtaining a BA degree in studio art and working in the field of photography for years, Jenni has combined her love of travel and photography to form this blog. Mark and Jenni share their experiences in hopes of inspiring others to have wonderful adventures and see the world.
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