Music legend Aretha Franklin is to be honoured for her contribution to the civil rights movement as part of a special celebration of equality in baseball.

The singer will be feted during the Major League Baseball (Mlb) Beacon Awards, which are handed out in Chicago, Illinois on the day of the Civil Rights Game, a baseball match to celebrate and encourage black players in the sport.

Franklin will be honoured at the event on 24 August (13) along with baseball and football star Bo Jackson.

Mlb representative Frank Robinson says, "The Mlb Beacon Awards offer a positive reminder that there are individuals who use their celebrity and fame to make a positive difference in our society. Major League Baseball is honoured to bestow this special recognition on Bo Jackson and Aretha Franklin and to have them be a part of our weekend activities surrounding the Civil Rights Game."

The award will come as a boost to Franklin, who has been forced to call off a number of planned concerts this year (13) to undergo treatment for an undisclosed illness.