Nov. 9, 1968

This statue of James Brown can be found in his hometown of Augusta, Georgia. Credit: Georgia Tourism and Travel

Singer James Brown, the “Godfather of Soul,” gave movement to the civil rights movement with his song, “Say It Loud — I’m Black and I’m Proud (Part 1),” which hit number one on this day on the R&B charts for a record sixth straight week. 

“Various musicians in the 1960s tapped into yearnings for black assertiveness, autonomy and solidarity,” Harvard law professor Randall Kennedy wrote. “Curtis Mayfield and the Impressions sang ‘We’re a Winner.’ Sly and the Family Stone offered ‘Stand.’ Sam Cooke (and Aretha Franklin and Otis Redding) performed ‘A Change is Gonna Come.’ But no entertainer equaled Brown’s vocalization of Black Americans’ newly triumphal sense of self-acceptance.” 

Brown saw 17 singles go to number one. Rolling Stone ranked him as one of the greatest music artists of all time, and he became an inaugural member of the Rock and Rock Hall of Fame. The movie, “Get On Up,” tells his story, and a statue was built in his hometown of Augusta, Georgia, to honor Brown, who died in 2006.

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The stories of investigative reporter Jerry Mitchell have helped put four Klansmen and a serial killer behind bars. His stories have also helped free two people from death row, exposed injustices and corruption, prompting investigations and reforms as well as the firings of boards and officials. He is a Pulitzer Prize finalist, a longtime member of Investigative Reporters & Editors, and a winner of more than 30 other national awards, including a $500,000 MacArthur “genius” grant. After working for three decades for the statewide Clarion-Ledger, Mitchell left in 2019 and founded the Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting.