Rev C L Franklin

To be a Legend is to live beyond Life

Hall of Legends

Clarence LaVaughn Franklin (often abbreviated to C. L. Franklin) (January 22, 1915 July 27, 1984), was an American Baptist minister, a civil rights activist, and father of the legendary soul and gospel singer Aretha Franklin

He was born Clarence LaVaughn Walker in Sunflower County, Mississippi, to sharecroppers Willie Walker and Rachel Walker née Pittman.] C.L. would recall that the only thing his father did for him was to teach him to salute when he returned from service in World War I in 1919.] Willie Walker abandoned the family shortly thereafter (Clarence was only four years old), and the next year Rachel married Henry Franklin, whose surname the family adopted.

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, and 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), and also to broadcast sermons via radio on Sundays. He commanded high fees for his public appearances, and among his most famous sermons were "The Eagle Stirreth Her Nest" and "Dry Bones in the Valley." 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 Aretha with him on speaking tours and musical engagements.

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.