- More than 200 fans slept overnight outside the Detroit museum where Franklin will be lying in state on Tuesday and Wednesday from 9am to 9pm
- Thousands of people are expected to go to the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History during the two-day public viewing period
- The public viewing begins her four-day funeral and memorial activities in her Detroit hometown
- Her private funeral will be held Friday and she will be buried in Detroit's Woodlawn Cemetery
- The Queen of Soul died from advanced pancreatic cancer at age 76 on August 16
Fans lined up overnight to pay their respects to the late Aretha Franklin and got a glimpse of the legendary singer as she lay in her gleaming gold casket wearing a red cocktail dress and matching shiny red stilettos Tuesday.
The music icon died from advanced pancreatic cancer on August 16. She was 76.
The Queen of Soul's body arrived in a shining gold casket at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in her Detroit, Michigan, hometown on Tuesday morning for the start of her two-day public viewing.
Franklin was transported to the museum in a vintage white LaSalle, passing by as many as 200 of her fans who had slept on the sidewalk and were already lined up to be among the first to pay their respects to the singer.
While many fans hailed from Detroit, others had traveled in from all around the country for the opportunity to see Franklin while lying in state at the museum, which had previously hosted a similar public viewing for civil rights icon Rosa Parks following her death in 2005.
Melissa Howard, 50, of Austin Texas, said she flew in to Detroit the day before Franklin's public viewing started, so she could ensure that she would be able to get inside the museum and pay her respects to Franklin.
Howard, a fan of Franklin's since she was a child, told the Detroit Free Press that she arrived on the line at 6.30pm Monday and that Franklin was 'royalty' and 'worth it.'
Howard said that at around 1am Tuesday, Franklin's niece, Chrystal, came to visit the line and handed out bottled water and White Castle hamburgers to say thank you to fans on behalf of the family.
While plenty of the people waiting on line were there to see Franklin because they were fans of her music, others said they were there to celebrate her for her accomplishments in the civil rights movement.
Aretha fan Charles Thomas, 59, of Detroit, told the Free Press that, 'She helped the movement — her and Sidney Poitier and Harry Belafonte. She went through the back door so people who look like me could go through the front door.'
Thousands of mourners are expected to visit the museum, which was the largest black museum in the United States until the National Museum of African American History and Culture opened in Washington, D.C., in 2016.
Franklin's public viewing will be open from 9am to 9pm on Tuesday and Wednesday. Then, on Thursday from noon to 4pm, her body will be moved to New Bethel Baptist Church, which was founded by her late father, Rev. C.L. Franklin, giving congregation members a chance to pay their respects if they were unable to get into the public viewing.
Thursday night at 6pm, a riverfront amphitheater will rock and roll with musical tributes to Franklin, which is being called 'A People's Tribute to the Queen.'
Chene Park will host the genre-spanning Thursday evening concert, which is scheduled to feature Gladys Knight, Johnny Gill, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Angie Stone, Keith Washington and many others. The free tickets were all claimed shortly after going on sale Monday morning.
The Four Tops also will be among those performing. Abdul 'Duke' Fakir said he was honored that his famed Motown group was invited to perform. The lone, surviving original member of the quartet said he and his bandmates shared a special bond with Franklin on stages and in studios over the decades.
'I'm happy - we always love to do anything we can for 'little sis,'' he said, adding that the performances 'should be awe-inspiring.'
Franklin's funeral is being held Friday at Detroit's Greater Grace Temple. The family and friends-only service is set to feature an all-star lineup of performers including Stevie Wonder, Faith Hill, Jennifer Hudson, Fantasia and Shirley Caesar. Ron Isley, Chaka Khan, Yolanda Adams, Jennifer Holliday and Franklin's son, Edward Franklin, will also perform.
VIPs aren't expected to be limited to the musical kind: Scheduled to speak at the service is former President Bill Clinton, whose inaugurations featured performances by Franklin. Others include the Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, Bishop T. D. Jakes, Cicely Tyson, former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Clive Davis and Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder.
Smokey Robinson also plans to pay tribute with words, not music. The Motown 'Miracle' and Franklin grew up together and delivered a spine-tingling duet on Soul Train in 1979.
The Rev. Jasper Williams Jr., pastor of Atlanta's Salem Baptist Church, will deliver the eulogy.
It's expected to be a marathon service, perhaps lasting five hours or more.
Greater Grace Temple is calling on people with pink Cadillacs to line up before the funeral in an effort to create a 'Freeway of Love' in tribute to Franklin. That's a nod to her funky '80s tune of the same name that prominently featured the car in the lyrics and video.
Those who line the route get a special perk: The driver of the Caddy and one extra person will be admitted to the funeral.
The church also hosted Parks' funeral, at which Franklin sang.
After the funeral, Franklin will be entombed at Woodlawn Cemetery in Detroit, along with her father, Rev. C.L. Franklin; brother Cecil Franklin; sisters Carolyn Franklin and Erma Franklin; and nephew, Thomas Garrett. Woodlawn also is the final resting place for Parks and many of the Motor City's musical elite, including members of the Four Tops.
Franklin passed away August 16 at 9.50am surrounded by family and friends at her home in Detroit following a battle with advanced pancreatic cancer.
'In one of the darkest moments of our lives, we are not able to find the appropriate words to express the pain in our heart. We have lost the matriarch and rock of our family,' a statement from her family read.
'We have been deeply touched by the incredible outpouring of love and support we have received from close friends, supporters and fans all around the world. Thank you for your compassion and prayers.
'We have felt your love for Aretha and it brings us comfort to know that her legacy will live on. As we grieve, we ask that you respect our privacy during this difficult time.'
Franklin, who sang with matchless style on such classics as 'Think,' 'I Say a Little Prayer' and her signature song, 'Respect', announced her retirement from touring last year.
The mother-of-four had battled various undisclosed health issues in recent years. Her last public performance was at Elton John's AIDS Foundation gala in New York in November last year.
Aretha Franklin performed at the Elton John AIDS Foundation Fall Gala in New York City on November 7, 2017. It was her last public performance before her death on August 16