The Queen of Soul will be laid to rest this week. During her final performance in Philadelphia, Aretha Franklin told the audience:
I started, really in Philadelphia. I worked at Pep’s on Broad Street and I worked at the Cadillac Club. I’ve worked all over Philadelphia.
Indeed, she did. Ms. Franklin worked her magic at the Uptown Theater, where on Friday, August 31, the Uptown Entertainment and Development Corporation will host a tribute to the life and music of the Queen of Soul. The event will take place in front of the historic theater.
The program will begin at 6pm with musical tributes to Ms. Franklin, followed by a candlelight ceremony at 7pm. For more info, contact Linda Richardson at (215) 236-1878.
The Franklin Motor Inn was located off Benjamin Franklin Parkway at 22nd Street and Spring Garden.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stayed here on his final visit to Philadelphia. It is also where most of the acts performing at the legendary Uptown Theater stayed. From Philadelphia magazine:
Built in 1959, the hotel used to be called the Franklin Motor Inn. New York boxing promoters used to put up their guys here. Hookers idled, businessmen prowled, and the bar used to stay open till 4 a.m.
There was an A-list presence too. The last time Martin Luther King ever visited Philly, according to a 1994 piece in the Philadelphia Tribune, he spent the day sick in bed at the Franklin Motor Inn, his favorite hotel in the city. Joe Frazier, a regular, always sat in the same seat, on the far right end of the bar. (Marvis Frazier tells me his father ate breakfast at the hotel at least once a week for more than 30 years, but really came to “play the numbers.”)
Georgie Woods has improved, enhanced and inspired the lives of many throughout his multi-faceted career of entertainment and public service.
As “The Guy with the Goods,” Georgie Woods has entertained for five full decades on radio stations WHAT and WDAS. In 1960, Georgie became active in the civil rights movement as Vice President of the NAACP. Georgie became an outspoken advocate of equal opportunity and equal treatment for African Americans and joined the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. and Cecil B. Moore in an ongoing campaign that took Woods from Washington, D.C., to Selma, Alabama. His other humanitarian efforts included a 17-day tour of Vietnam, as the first African American to entertain the troops.