Thirty Three years ago on April 5, 1968 cities across the United States experienced violence and unrest during the twenty four hour aftermath of Dr Martin Luther King’s assassination. I was seventeen, living in an inner city and remember the night well. In Boston a concert featuring the King of Soul, James Brown had been scheduled for that night at the “Boston Garden”. City officials debated vehemently whether to cancel the concert or allow it to take place before eventually giving approval. Mayor Kevin White convinced WGBH Channel 2 to broadcast the concert as a means to keep young people at home and off the streets. James Brown agreed to cooperate with city officials…the concert went on and Boston saw a peaceful night. Historians give Kevin White and James Brown credit for saving property and potentially lives the night of April 5, 1968.
The video below shows the speeches before the concert given by Boston City Councilor Tom Atkins, Mayor Kevin White and James Brown all urging calm.