The music icon, who passed away in August 2018 after a battle with pancreatic cancer, was awarded thePulitzer Prize Special Citation for her contribution to American music and culture.
The singer was announced as the winner on Monday, with the ceremony hailing her “indelible contribution to American music and culture for more than five decades.”
While the Pulitzer Prize is always considered to be a huge honour, Aretha’s victory takes special significance as she’s the the first individual woman to earn the citation for music and culture since the ceremony began in 1930.
Previous winners have included jazz legend John Coltrane in 2007, and Bob Dylan in 2008.
It comes after some of music’s leading lights paid tribute to the singer after her death last year. Appearing at a memorial service for Franklin, Stevie Wonder hailed her talent as he performed ‘As’ and ‘The Lord’s Prayer’.
Wonder said: “What needs to happen today, not only in this nation but throughout the world, is that we need to make love great again…because black lives do matter. Because all lives do matter…that is what Aretha said throughout her life. Though the pain, she gave us the joy, and said, ‘Let’s make love great again.’”