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Why Was the FBI Monitoring Aretha Franklin?

The FBI spent years surveilling Aretha Franklin, trying to gauge how involved she was with the civil rights movement, communism and the Black Power movement, NPR reports. Franklin was identified in a 1969 memo titled “Possible Racial Violence, Urban Areas, Racial Matters” for an incident the year before when Denver concertgoers rioted after she refused to perform at the Red Rocks amphitheater because she wasn’t properly paid. Franklin’s father, C.L. Franklin, was also surveilled. The findings were part of a 270-page document obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request made by Courage News founder Jenn Dize in 2018. The documents additionally show death threats made against Franklin and infringements of her music and performances.

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