Black History Around the CSRA: James Brown
Get Up…Get On Up!
It’s no secret that James Brown has had a significant impact on the City of Augusta. How can you miss that huge bronze statue of the Godfather of Soul in the heart of Downtown? James Brown was a cultural icon that had a great impact on the music industry and the lives of people all over the world. We wanted to get some special insights about James Brown, so we got to chat with the folks from the James Brown Family Foundation and got an inside scoop on the “I Feel Good” man.
Interview with the James Brown Family Foundation
At what age did James Brown start showing a gift for music?
He was around the age 5 or 6.
Is it true that he was mainly self-taught?
Yes, that is true. Mr. Brown had no formal education after 7th grade.
Do any of his children have a career in music?
No, but a few do play instruments.
What are some special things James Brown did for the people of Augusta, GA?
During the riots after Martin Luther King was murdered, he spoke to Augusta at large and urged that everyone uphold Dr. King’s teachings of peaceful protests, not violence. He also gave away scholarships to young students. He employed people locally. Mr. Brown also gave away thousands of turkeys and toys to impoverished families. We still continue the Turkey and Toy Giveaways today.
How do you feel James Brown contributed to Black History?
James Brown is black history. He made “Say it loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud” and he was not afraid to say it! Mr. Brown was the first to coin that phrase and generations later, it is still being said. This statement will be relevant among Blacks until the end of time. The messages in his songs tell the story. “I don’t want nobody to give me nothing, open up the door and I’ll get it myself” was a song that encouraged businesses and schools to open its doors and allow a young brother or sister in and give them a chance or opportunity to show their skills and talents. He was the first at so many things in the music industry. He is the most sampled artist….still. One of the greatest entertainers in the world studied him… Michael Jackson.
How many countries did James Brown perform in?
Mr. Brown has performed in every country.
If you could describe James Brown in three words, what would they be?
Creator, Innovator, and Revolutionist.
What type of philanthropic work did James Brown do while he was alive?
In addition to the aforementioned Turkey and Toy Giveaways, he gave people an opportunity at a career in music and now some of those people are doing well, Bootsy Collins and Maceo Parker are examples.
When did he first get the name “Godfather of Soul”?
In the early 70’s while doing the music score for the film Black Ceasar. He gave himself that name.
How can children be inspired by the memory of James Brown?
Taking the James Brown Family Historical Tour, visiting the Augusta Museum of History, The Lucy Laney Museum of Black History are several avenues of inspiration. Children can also check out and maybe even join the James Brown Academy of Musik Pupils, an after-school program at the Augusta Museum and watch those James Brown YouTube videos. There are