The Pulitzer Prizes announced the honour Monday at the 2019 Pulitzer Prizes for Arts, Drama and Music, naming Franklin a winner "for her indelible contribution to American music and culture for more than five decades."
Franklin died of pancreatic cancer on Aug. 18, 2018 at her Detroit home. She was 76.
Her passing was mourned worldwide, and thousands turned out for her funeral in Detroit.
Franklin sold millions of albums and was the icon of a generation. When she died, she left behind a $60 million fortune, according to sources.
Such a special award and citation from the Pulitzers is relatively rare. In 2007 a citation was given to jazz composer John Coltrane; the following year one was given to musician Bob Dylan; and in 2010, country music legend Hank Williams was honoured.
In addition to the special citation given Monday to Franklin, the Pulitzers also gave a special award to the Capital Gazzette in Annapolis, Maryland, for courage in responding to a June 28, 2018, shooting spree that killed five employees.