Representing the Godfather

James Brown and the Rev. Al Sharpton didn't always agree, particularly when it came to politics. The close friend and confidant of the late soul singer was reminded of that fact Sunday during a tour of Augusta Museum of History's James Brown exhibit.


Joined by Mr. Brown's daughter Deanna, the Rev. Sharpton gazed through a glass case at a medal given to Mr. Brown by the Republican Presidential Task Force. Mr. Brown was a lifelong member of the group, which supports Republican candidates. The Rev. Sharpton is a prominent Democratic Party supporter and a former candidate for the party's presidential nomination.

"We had many discussions about that," the Rev. Sharpton said, eliciting laughter from reporters and museum workers after his tour. "He would say I was the one lost."

This was the Rev. Sharpton's first visit to the museum's exhibit since it opened May 3 -- Mr. Brown's birthday.

The civil rights activist was in Augusta to fill in for his mentor at the annual James Brown Turkey giveaway today.

He called the exhibit "fitting" but said it conjured up mixed feelings, reminding him of Mr. Brown's death nearly two years ago on Christmas Day.

"It reminds me he was the only father I ever knew in my life and the only godfather to millions over the world," he said.

The Rev. Sharpton said he often wonders how Mr. Brown would react to current events, including the election of Barack Obama as president.

He said he also worries about Mr. Brown's legacy, adding that the exhibit will help to preserve his memory.

"I don't want the world to forget James Brown, and going to this exhibit, I know that they haven't and they won't," he said.

Reach Adam Folk at (706) 823-3339 or


For the third consecutive year, the Rev. Al Sharpton will hand out free turkeys in Augusta, continuing the late James Brown's annual Thanksgiving tradition. At 10 a.m. today, the Rev. Sharpton will be at Dyess Park, at James Brown Boulevard and D'Antignac Street.



THE EXHIBIT: The Godfather of Soul, Mr. James Brown, featuring rare and personal artifacts from the late soul singer, opened May 3 and is scheduled to remain in Augusta until at least May 2011.

WHERE: Augusta Museum of History, 560 Reynolds St.

MUSEUM HOURS: Closed Mondays; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday; 1-5 p.m. Sunday

COST: Adults, $4; seniors, $3; children 6-18, $2; children 5 and under, free