Child of the Gospel
On The Road
To help support his large family, Reverend Franklin began touring with his own gospel revue. The revue featured a dramatic sermon by Reverend Franklin and several musical numbers. When Aretha was fourteen years old, her father invited her to perform as part of the show. Her time on the road exposed Aretha to many different aspects of life. She was positively influenced by her exposure to new people and places. She continued to encounter some of the best gospel performers of the time.
Life on the road had drawbacks, too. Aretha was now traveling in a world of adults, with very few people her own age. Unlike her privileged upbringing in Detroit, there were many places the revue traveled where they faced racism. Sometimes the performers would have to drive miles out of their way in order to find a restaurant that would serve the black performers.
Ultimately, the tour was another way that Reverend Franklin kept Aretha's mind open to many different possibilities. She experienced people of different races, religions, and ideas. She saw the devastating effects of segregation in the southern states. Aretha was able to understand firsthand the importance of civil rights for all human beings.