Soul legend James Brown hit the stage today (May 29, 1968), in Chicago for a benefit concert to raise funds for Dr. Martin Luther King‘s charitable organization. The concert was […]

Soul legend James Brown hit the stage today (May 29, 1968), in Chicago for a benefit concert to raise funds for Dr. Martin Luther King‘s charitable organization.

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The concert was held at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois, where James Brown was raising money for MLK and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, which ran the Operation Breadbasket program.

The goal of Operation Breadbasket was to improve the financial and employment condition of black men and women around the country, through boycotts and other tactics.

At this point, Operation Breadbasket was being headed up by Jesse Jackson, who had endeared himself to a variety of entertainers of the day, including the Stax Records operation in Memphis, Motown in Detroit and James Brown aka “Soul Brother #1.”

The concert came as James Brown upped his political activism, by engaging in the black man’s struggle for civil rights, while speaking out against the war in Vietnam.

“I admired the bravery of the boys who were over there, and I knew a large proportion were black,” James Brown said in his autobiography “The Godfather of Soul.”

“I had been trying for a long time to get the government to let me go over there to entertain the troops. I knew the black soldiers were complaining that the USO didn’t send enough acts they could identify with, and I wanted to change that.”

Proceeds from the May 29 concert in Chicago were donated to Operation Breadbasket, as well as for other Chicago-based organizations: The Afro-American History Museum, the Westside Organization, the Catholic Interracial Council and South Congregational Church.

The following month, James Brown’s request was honored and he and his band cancelled $100,000 worth of bookings and went on a tour of Vietnam.

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About Grouchy Greg Watkins and RareSoul Staff