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Thread: The Night James Brown Saved Boston

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    Завсегдатай rockzmom's Avatar
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    The Night James Brown Saved Boston

    I was going to post this under the Movie Thread; however, I thought it might be better as its own thread. I have a bit of a long introduction; however, hang in there with me and I promise to get to the point.

    I am not certain how much of the 1968 riots were covered overseas and how much, if any, is taught in schools there now (or for that matter what is taught in schools now in other parts of the U.S.). Personally, for my family, the riots had a large impact on us. My mom’s father and uncle owned liquor stores in Washington, D.C. and one of them was right in the heart of the rioting area on 14th Street.

    It's important to note that my grandfather was well liked in the area and as things were going from bad to worse, the locals actually did not want to harm him or his business; however, as they explained it to him, it would look odd if his store was the only one not damaged. So, they called him and told him to get out of the store about an hour BEFORE they came there and instead of burning it, they only looted it. All of the other businesses around his were torched. Ironically, the lock and glass on his front door was so strong; they could not break in via the front door and had to smash in the two side glass window panes.

    A photographer from The Washington Post, Ken Feil, took many photographs that night and one of the ones he took of my grandfather’s store made the cover of The Washington Post Magazine. It was of a priest speaking with two National Guard soldiers. Here is a copy of that photo:


    Another photo he took was of a man actually carrying a box of liquor out of the store, via the broken window, not the door (if you look closely, you can see the large silver handle still there on the door).


    In both photos, you can see the door is still intact, with the address 1414. You can also notice that they were taken at different times by the amount of bottles left on the shelves.

    I actually have the original photographs; however, The Washington Post gave them to me on the condition that I would NOT post them on the Internet so the copies I am posting here are from the book Ten Blocks from the White House: Anatomy of the Washington Riots of 1968.

    Soon after the riots, my grandmother painted a VERY large (about 4 feet or 121.92cm tall) impressionistic painting of the riots and the stores burning. My mom still has this painting. Here is a photograph of it:


    So, where am I going with all of this???? I am so glad you asked!

    Last year, a documentary film (or Rock Doc as they call it) was made entitled, “The Night James Brown Saved Boston.” It is a great film and won several awards. I noticed that the non-director's version is now up on YouTube and for anyone who does not know about this time in American History or would like to know more about it, I strongly urge you to take the hour or so to watch it. It is NOT a boring old history movie... I promise you that.

    If the YouTube does not work for you, please let me know and I will try to find a way to post it so that you can watch it.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j5fBE...x=0&playnext=1

    NPR Radio Interview with Director, David Leaf
    News & Notes , April 1, 2008 · On April 5, 1968, soul legend James Brown performed a concert in Boston that many say shielded that city from the kinds of devastating riots that ripped other cities apart after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. Farai Chideya talks with David Leaf about his new film, The Night James Brown Saved Boston.
    http://www.npr.org/templates/player/...314&m=89273296
    The Night James Brown Saved Boston, IMDb:
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1183486/

    Thanks for reading this LONG posting and I would be interested in learning about what others have been taught about this time in history or saw first hand via news coverage. Also, if you watch the film, please let me know what you think.
    Rockzmom.
    I only speak two languages, English and bad English.
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    Click here for list of Russian films with English subtitles and links to watch them.

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    Re: The Night James Brown Saved Boston

    I also found this VERY short (49 second) black and white aireal footage entitled "Washington is Burning" showing the fires buring around Washington, D.C. It shows the Washington Capitol and everything. Very interesting to see it from the sky looking down.

    There is some text at the end that say's "My grandfather..." it is NOT my grandfather who shot this footage.

    http://www.megavideo.com/?v=B3TX3RRF
    I only speak two languages, English and bad English.
    Check out the MasterRussian Music Playlist
    Click here for list of Russian films with English subtitles and links to watch them.

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    Почтенный гражданин capecoddah's Avatar
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    Re: The Night James Brown Saved Boston

    The concert was broadcast live on WGBH channel 2 in Boston, the flagship PBS station. They were going to show the Boston Symphony Orchestra that night. Some very confused technicians set up in Boston Garden instead of Symphony Hall. The show has been broadcast many times.
    I'm easily amused late at night...

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