REMEMBERING CLARENCE LAVAUGHN FRANKLIN (January 22, 1915 – July 27, 1984),
Clarence LaVaughn Franklin better known as Bishop C. L. Franklin or The Reverend C. L. Franklin, was an American Baptist minister and civil rights activist. Known as the man with the "Million-Dollar Voice", Franklin served as the pastor of New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit, Michigan, from 1946 to 1979. Franklin was also the father of American singer–songwriter Aretha Franklin. At age 16, he became a preacher, initially working the Black itinerant preaching circuit, before settling at New Salem Baptist Church in Memphis, Tennessee, where he remained until May 1944. From there he moved to the pulpit of the Friendship Baptist Church in Buffalo, New York, where he served until June 1946 when he became pastor of the New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit, Michigan. Throughout the late 1940s and 1950s his fame grew. He preached throughout the country while maintaining his pulpit at New Bethel. Known as the man with the "Million Dollar Voice", Franklin was one of the first ministers to place his sermons on records (which continued into the 1970s, many of them issued by Joe Von Battle's JVB label), and to broadcast sermons via radio on Sundays. He commanded high fees for his public appearances. Among his most famous sermons were "The Eagle Stirreth Her Nest" and "Dry Bones in the Valley". In 2011, "The Eagle Stirreth Her Nest" was added to the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress. In addition to his fame as a preacher, Franklin was known for his fine singing voice. He greatly encouraged his daughter Aretha Franklin in her musical endeavors, and during the 1950s took her with him on speaking tours and musical engagements. He also formed an a'capella group with Anthony Alexander Chamblee, his first cousin. They only made one album before he accepted the call to preach. In addition to his ministry, in the 1950s and 1960s as he became involved in the civil rights movement, and worked to end discriminatory practices against black United Auto Workers members in Detroit.Shortly after midnight on Sunday, June 10, 1979, Franklin was shot twice at point-blank range during what was said to be an attempted robbery at his home on Detroit's West Side. He was taken to Henry Ford Hospital on nearby West Grand Boulevard. He remained in a coma for the next five years. He died on July 27, 1984, just one week after being placed in Detroit's New Light Nursing Home.
Clarence LaVaughn Franklin was born in Sunflower County, Mississippi, on January 22, 1915. He died in Detroit, Michigan on July 27, 1984 at the age of 69
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