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Aretha Franklin: First Woman Granted Pulitzer “Special Citation” Prize

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Apr. 16 2019, Updated 6:18 p.m. ET

The Pulitzer Prize is usually awarded for achievements in journalism and drama. On the 15th of April 2019, Aretha Franklin was 1 of 43 people whose body of work was so extensive and iconic that she was awarded with the Pulitzer Prize under a “special citation.”

Since 1930, only 43 special citation prizes have been awarded.

Aretha Franklin is the first woman.

Although the award comes posthumously, it shows the true magnitude of her decades work as the Queen of Soul.

Aretha Franklin‘s niece, Sabrina Owens, exclaimed:

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“I was just really surprised and excited and thrilled. Even in her death, Aretha is still breaking down barriers and opening doors for women. We’re so happy she’s being honored in this way.”

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“I was just really surprised and excited and thrilled. Even in her death, Aretha is still breaking down barriers and opening doors for women. We’re so happy she’s being honored in this way.”

The Pulitzer Prize administrator Dana Canedy said:

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“we don’t award prizes for political reasons. We award excellence. We award the work — whether music, literature, journalism, drama — that really reflects the best of the best. And I don’t think anyone can argue that’s what Aretha Franklin and her work represent.”

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“we don’t award prizes for political reasons. We award excellence. We award the work — whether music, literature, journalism, drama — that really reflects the best of the best. And I don’t think anyone can argue that’s what Aretha Franklin and her work represent.”

She continued,

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“Whether it’s ‘Respect,’ or ‘(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,’ or fill-in-the-blank, people remember the impact of certain Aretha Franklin songs on their lives,” said the Pulitzer administrator. “There are songs that are anthems for women. There are songs that are gospel and jazz influences that move us all. And we felt it was appropriate — indeed important — to honor and celebrate that. And, in that way, the queen lives.”

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“Whether it’s ‘Respect,’ or ‘(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,’ or fill-in-the-blank, people remember the impact of certain Aretha Franklin songs on their lives,” said the Pulitzer administrator. “There are songs that are anthems for women. There are songs that are gospel and jazz influences that move us all. And we felt it was appropriate — indeed important — to honor and celebrate that. And, in that way, the queen lives.”

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