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Aretha Franklin came to Washington to sing - and for history

Throughout her career, Aretha Franklin often returned to the nation's capital for performances that at times put her in line with key moments of U.S. History.

The "Queen of Soul" sang for diplomats, welcomed emperors and brought one president — Barack Obama — to tears. Franklin also accepted many honours and performed for charities and civil rights groups in Washington.

Franklin surrounded herself with the politics of the day and would for the rest of her career referenced her experiences during historic moments in speeches, interviews and her 1999 autobiography, "Aretha: From These Roots."

Franklin performed for Democratic Presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. Republican President George Bush, a Republican, awarded Franklin in 2005 the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award.

Russell Contreras, The Associated Press

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