A 1940 two-door Cadillac LaSalle hearse pulled up to the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit Tuesday. The vintage car contained the gold-plated casket of the late legend Aretha Franklin, who died Aug. 16 of pancreatic cancer at age 76.
The three-speed vehicle was used to carry the Queen of Soul’s father, Rev. C.L. Franklin, in 1984, Temptations singer David Ruffin in 1991 and civil rights icon Rosa Parks in 2005, according to the Detroit Free Press.
The vintage car was driven by O’Neil D. Swanson, president of Swanson Funeral Home, which opened in Detroit in 1958. The car is only used for special occasions upon request, Freep reported.
Crowds were outside the museum waiting for the viewing, which began at 9 a.m.
CNN reported that pallbearers dressed in dark suits and wearing white gloves walked alongside the casket and into the museum.
“I was so stunned when we took the body out of the hearse, people all over the crowd were tearful and saying, ‘I love you Aretha,’” Swanson told CNN. “They really loved her, and she loved Detroit.”
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