Soul singer Aretha Franklin was tracked and monitored by the FBI for years, with some of her shows labelled “communist infiltration events,” new unsealed documents show.
A 270-page document released by the FBI details an extensive surveillance operation with reports from more than a dozen states, as her civil rights activism and friendships with Martin Luther King Jr and Angela Davis came under scrutiny.
Franklin, who was widely known as “the Queen of Soul,” died in 2018 aged 76, but her association with Davis in particular caught the attention of authorities.
Davis was a member of the Communist Party and accused of supplying guns to a group of men who launched an armed takeover of a courtroom in California, in which four people were killed.
President Richard Nixon labelled her a “dangerous terrorist” when she was arrested after two years on the run, but Davis was later acquitted.