James Brown Showed Blacks They Didn't Have to Hide Their Heritage to Play Role in American Society

By: Marc H. Morial
President and CEO
National Urban League

On Christmas Day, the career and life of the "Hardest Working Man in Show Business"
ended. But his spirit lives on in the legions of fans that weathered rain and cold to bid
him farewell. James Brown electrified a generation, an entertainer with so prolific a
body of work and so distinctive a genre of style that entertainers for more than four
decades have either borrowed from or have been inspired by.

From the time he first took the stage in the 1950s, James Brown, who died of heart
failure at 73, proved to be a cultural tour de force

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