On this day in 1968, the nation was reeling from the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., which had taken location the day ahead of. King’s death triggered riots in many cities about the nation, such as Baltimore, Chicago, Kansas City, Louisville and Washington, D.C.
The city of Boston had weathered a evening of civil disturbance in isolated regions of the city on the evening of King’s death, and its mayor, Kevin White, sought a way to curb additional, additional widespread challenges. A young, black city councilman, Tom Atkins, proposed an thought: televise the previously-scheduled James Brown concert taking location that evening at the Boston Garden, with the purpose of maintaining several Bostonians at household, in front of their televisions.
Atkins and White convinced Boston’s public tv station, WGBH, to scrub its planned schedule in favor of the James Brown concert. And so, that evening, in front of a reside audience and tv viewers, James Brown helped introduce “a swinging cat” Kevin White, who delivered a short but heartfelt plea to Boston residents:
“All of us are right here tonight to listen to a wonderful talent, James Brown. But we’re also right here to spend tribute to a single of the greatest Americans, Dr. Martin Luther King. Twenty-4 hours ago, Dr. King died — for all of us, black and white — that we might reside collectively in harmony with no violence and in peace. Now, I am right here tonight, like all of you, to listen to James. But I am also right here to ask for your assistance. I am right here to ask you to remain with me, as your mayor, and to make Dr. King’s dreams a reality in Boston. This is our city, and its future is in our hands, tonight, and tomorrow and the days that stick to. Martin Luther King loved this city, and it is up to our generation to prove his faith in us. So all I ask you tonight is this: Let us appear at each and every other, right here in the Gardens, and back at household, and pledge that no matter what any other neighborhood may well do, we in Boston will honor Dr. King in peace.”