The hours immediately following the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr were understandably a very tense time across the United States.
The death of the Civil Rights leader left many people agitated and angry. The city of Boston, in particular, was a ticking time bomb, and city leaders were worried about potential rioting.
The next day, helped arrived in the form of music legend James Brown.
Brown was already scheduled to perform a concert on April 5th, 1968 at Boston Gardens. Boston’s then-mayor, Kevin White considered cancelling the show, but feared the cancellation would provoke riots. White brokered a deal with Brown’s organization that White believed would keep people off of the streets and ease the tension in the city.
James Brown’s concert would be broadcast live on a local television station.
Filmmaker David Leaf put together an excellent documentary film in 2008 about this legendary concert, and how James Brown saved Boston featuring footage from the show as well as interviews from Brown’s band members, Reverend Al Sharpton, Dr Cornel West, and many others.