Object of the Month
"Chain of Fools"

Chain of Fools
August232018

Queen of Soul: This 1968 record featuring Aretha Franklin’s Chain of Fools and Prove It is part of the National Museum of African American History and Culture’s audio recording collection. Franklin, one of America’s most acclaimed singers, died on August 16, 2018, at age 76, following a long illness. Her legacy places her among the nation’s musical greats. Over a long career, she had 17 Top 10 pop singles and received 18 Grammy Awards. She was the first woman inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, in 1987.

Many of Franklin’s 1960s hit songs, including “Respect,” “Think” and “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man,” spoke of strong women who demanded equality.

“You hear her in every singer who sings in popular music, even today,” said Dwandalyn Reece, curator of music and performing arts at the National Museum of African American History and Culture. “Her sense of liberation has opened the floodgates of singers who follow her, and she carries on the tradition of singers who preceded her as well.”

***

Image Credit: Courtesy National Museum of African American History and Culture

The Smithsonian American Women's History Initiative is supported in part thanks to people like you. Make a gift now and help us amplify women's voices, reach the next generation, and empower women everywhere.