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WGBH Media Library and Archives

James Brown At The Boston Garden (1968). [Part 1 of 2]

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Summary
April 5, 1968. This is the famous James Brown concert that was broadcast on WGBH in Boston, Massachusetts less than 24 hours after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. As violence was breaking out across America, Boston Mayor Kevin White was considering canceling all public events, including the James Brown concert. Civil leaders advised White that canceling the concert might trigger a riot. The mayor relented and then persuaded PBS station WGBH to broadcast the event in an effort to keep blacks at home instead of on the street. James Brown soothed the grieving audience by dedicating the show to the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and delivered an electrifying performance. Brown introduced the mayor who urged the audience to keep cool. At one point the fans go wild and rush the stage. The police move in to restore order but Brown assures them that he can handle it. Brown then pleads with the crowd to return to their seats and says this is not how black people should act. Songs include "Get It Together," "There Was A Time," "I Got A Feeling," "It's a Man's, Man's, Man's World," "Lost Someone," "Bewildered," "When a Man Loves a Women," "That's Life," "Kansas City," "Soul Man," "I Got The Feeling," "Try Me," "Cold Sweat," "Maybe The Last Time," "Please Please Please," "I Can't Stand It" and many others.
Topics
African American artists, Musical performances, Riot control, Assassination, Civil rights leaders, African American musicians, Entertainment events
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