James Brown’s Thanksgiving Generosity Lives On

Saturday, November 17th 2007, 3:55 pm
By: News On 6

AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) -- A Thanksgiving tradition sponsored by James Brown is being continued in this first year after the soul pioneer's death with the annual turkey giveaway in his hometown.

In his place, longtime confidant and civil rights activist Al Sharpton will hand out the first turkey Monday.

James Brown started the turkey tradition in 1991. He died of heart failure last Christmas at age 73.

More than 1,000 turkeys are usually distributed at the pre-Thanksgiving event, said the Rev. Larry Fryer, who assisted Brown with previous giveaways. The Brown family also will continue Brown's annual Christmas toy giveaway on December 20.

"We're the ones who decided to do what we know dad would have wanted us to do," his daughter, Deanna Brown Thomas, said Friday. "These are two events that held dearest to dad's heart."

Thomas said her father left no doubt that he wanted his children to carry on this tradition.

"Daddy told me one time 'I expect for y'all to continue this,"' she said. "And he ain't just any daddy. He's James Brown."

The family asked for donations to keep the events alive. As of Friday, an account set up at First Bank of Georgia had received $4,500, a bank representative said.