Sing, Aretha, Sing! : Aretha Franklin,"Respect," and the Civil Rights Movement


Author: Hanif Abdurraqib

Illustrator: Ashley Evans

An empowering picture book biography of Aretha Franklin and her role in civil rights, perfect for Women's History Month and Black History Month

When Aretha Franklin sang, she didn’t just make records—she sparked a movement. A civil rights activist known as the Queen of Soul, Aretha used her voice to uplift freedom fighters and people of color during the 1960s Civil Rights Movement. Her song “Respect” emerged as an anthem of identity and survival. It urged the Black community to hang on to joy and take back what was theirs, and whenever Aretha performed the powerful words, everyone sang along. “Respect” gave hope to the people who wanted to try to change the world—and continues to give hope to people today.

Hanif Abdurraqib’s lyrical prose and Ashley Evans’s colorful illustrations demonstrate how one brave voice can give power to a community, and how the legacy of Aretha Franklin lives on in a world still fighting for freedom.