Fight on to preserve Aretha Franklin’s Memphis birthplace home
A Memphis developer is trying to come up with a plan to save the birthplace home of Aretha Franklin.
Jeffrey Higgs, a developer with South Memphis Renewal Community Development Corporation, told CNN an Environmental Court judge has given him until Oct. 16 to present a plan to the court to preserve Franklin’s former home.
The shotgun-style house at 406 Lucy Avenue in South Memphis was the first home of the legendary singer. In recent years, the house has fallen into disrepair.
Franklin told WREG News Channel 3 in Memphis in 2014 that her family moved from Memphis when she was around two years old.
“It’s wonderful just to be back in the neighborhood and go through the home where I was born and to see where my parents, what they provided for us and where my mom cooked and my dad came home after a day’s sermons,” Franklin said at the time.
The singer, who died earlier this month at the age of 76 after a battle with pancreatic cancer, will be memorialized Friday in Detroit, where she lived most of her life.
The owner of the Memphis home for the past 35 years, Vera House, is a mother of 12 who fell behind on property taxes, her spokesperson Patricia Rogers told CNN.
Higgs took receivership of the home about two years ago to prevent it from being demolished, he said.
Rogers told CNN that House is trying pay the remaining back taxes to bring the home out of receivership. She has felt excluded from the restoration process and would like to work with Higgs going forward, Rogers added.
According to Higgs, a vigil is scheduled to be held at the house on Friday in honor of Franklin.