Aretha Franklin will forever be remembered as the legendary Queen of Soul, but her six-decade career — during which she won 18 Grammy awards and was the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame — isn’t the only legacy she leaves behind. The musical icon, who passed away Aug. 16 in Detroit, Michigan at age 76, was just as much a civil rights and feminist icon. The history of her mega-hit “Respect” reveals just how revolutionary an artist Franklin was, and how much her impact endures to this day. She was wrapping a statement about feminism and civil rights in the package of a chart-topping song, and paving the way for future musicians to unite politics and pop. She will forever be hailed a legend who used her platform and voice to advocate for racial equality alongside some of the titans of her era. Rest in peace, Ms. Franklin. You were a treasure. 

Women’s Equality Day is celebrated in the United States on August 26 to commemorate the 1920 adoption of the Nineteenth Amendment (Amendment XIX) to the United States Constitution, which prohibits the states and the federal government from denying the right to vote to citizens of the United States on the basis of sex. It was first celebrated in 1973 and is proclaimed each year by the United States President.


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