James Brown turkey tradition lives on in Augusta

Annual James Brown charity can't match demand

Jackie Ricciardi/staff
Trevian White, 5 is handed a turkey during the 20th annual James Brown Thanksgiving Turkey giveaway at Dyess Park in Augusta, Ga, on Monday, November 22, 2010.
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Trevian White, 5 is handed a turkey during the 20th annual James Brown Thanksgiving Turkey giveaway at Dyess Park. The supply of 1,100 donated turkeys wasn't enough to meet all requests. The soul singer, who started the giveaway, died in 2006.
Trevian White, 5 is handed a turkey during the 20th annual James Brown Thanksgiving Turkey giveaway at Dyess Park. The supply of 1,100 donated turkeys wasn't enough to meet all requests. The soul singer, who started the giveaway, died in 2006.

James Brown's annual Thanksgiving giveaway put a turkey on more than 1,100 Augusta tables this year, but as the birds ran out, tensions revived between the late soul singer's children and his yet-unsettled estate, which provides no support for the holiday tradition.

Making good on a promise to Brown, the Rev. Al Sharpton returned to Augusta for the giveaway and said trustees over the estate only cared to milk Brown's legacy for financial gain.

"How could they not identify and endorse the philanthropic things (Brown) started, unless their intentions are just to commercially exploit him?" he asked.

The Brown Family Children Foundation, of which Sharpton is a director, has carried on Brown's traditional Thankgiving turkey and holiday toy giveaways since his death on Christmas Day 2006.

"This is something that (Brown) did every year for decades," he said. "What is the motive of the estate to say, 'No, don't put our name on it?' "

Representatives of the estate, which has yet to be disbursed among Brown's heirs, could not be reached for a response, but a settlement previously agreed to by Brown's widow and children designates just one charitable organization as beneficiary -- an educational foundation -- not the annual holiday giveaways.

On Monday morning, thousands formed four lines at Dyess Park.

After about an hour, though, the 1,100 or so tickets for turkeys had been given out, said Brown's daughter Deanna Brown-Thomas, who consoled late arrivals as she sent them away empty-handed, or over to a tent where her husband was handing out fried fish from his restaurant.

"It's a lot more than usual because of the times that we're living in," Brown-Thomas said. "When I look at this it hurts because you can't give to everybody, but it goes to show the need is there."

The elderly and disabled filed through the lines first, accepting turkeys -- donated by Wal-Mart, Comcast, Amerigroup and local donors -- from Brown family members and local politicians.

Eighty-nine-year-old Ethel Williams thanked God for allowing her to get up and stand in line for a turkey.

She also thanked Sharpton for standing in for Brown.

The giveaway "is a nice thing to have, because there are so many people that don't have, and this is a help for them," Williams said.

Before handing out turkeys, Mayor Deke Copenhaver told videographer Jason Brown, "My name is Mayor Deke Copenhaver, and I approve of this event because the Godfather of Soul was my friend."

Jason Brown, 20, said he has attended most of the giveaways since his grandfather started them 20 years ago.

"It's always a blessing," said Brown, a film student at the Savannah College of Art and Design. "In recent years, it's gotten worse, and the worse it gets the longer you have to spread your hand."

Paul Harris, a volunteer from St. James AME Church who helped unload turkeys, recalled that James Brown "was such a giving person. People put him up on a pedestal; he did not put himself up there."

Were you Spotted?

See dozens of photos from the event at spotted.augusta.com.

Comments (24) Add comment
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justus4
113
Points
justus4 11/22/10 - 11:54 am
0
0
Of course the turkeys ran
Unpublished

Of course the turkeys ran out, because of the mentality of that state and republicans in power. That's exactly what their idea of "charity" is all about, while those with six figures will be rewarded with government hand outs. How cruel. And J. Brown's estate is being held in legal limbo by that other Carolina AG, who probably will enjoy a great holiday - working for the state government. Wow! So, "government" is too big is the (R) chant, but exactly who is this so-called big government? Why aren't they involved with this turkey tradition? It appears that ANYTHING that "government" does that assist the minority citizen is called "un-necessary" while fat cats with government jobs steer minority tax dollars into non-minority entities - or use the corrupted legal system to soak the poor. Yep, there is a greater need than available resources. That phrase will be constantly used over the next 24 mos, but notice who will be getting richer. Great country, eh?

InsuredInterest
0
Points
InsuredInterest 11/22/10 - 12:17 pm
0
0
Justus- in case you haven't

Justus- in case you haven't noticed, we have a president who is a Democrat (AND black), and the Democrats control both houses of Congress. I didn't see where any of them were involved in the hand-outs on a personal level. Thankfully, ther are still some compassionate folks still out there who aren't playing politics, just meeting needs. BTW,
republicans, as a group, give significantly more to charitable organizations
from their own pockets than democrats. So, who are you helping out this year from your own funds? Or, are you just going to gripe that nobody cares and then do nothing but look to the government for more help. Until we all understand that the government wastes a large portion of all the money it administers and determine to limit how much they have to waste, then get up and work together to help those in need with the money we kept out of their corrupt and greedy hands, we won't have any real solutions. Instead of laying blame, we all need to lay the foundation for a better world. We are all in this together.

boredinaug
97
Points
boredinaug 11/22/10 - 12:23 pm
0
0
You have got to be kidding.

You have got to be kidding. The "government" gives WAY MORE to it's citizens than a turkey on Thanksgiving...According to the USA Today...

- 50 million Americans are on Medicaid
- 40 million Americans receive Food Stamps/EBT
- 10 million receive unemployment compensation
- 4.4. million are on welfare

Does this sound like a country that does NOTHING for it's citizens? Please tell me why RACE always plays a role in ANYTHING that happens in the CSRA. If you are African American and living in AUGUSTA, GA...congratulations...you are the MAJORITY not the MINORITY. Also, I failed to realize the James Brown Turkey "giveaway" was only for African American people. WOW...that's discrimination too, isn't it??? The turkeys most likely "ran out" because there were many people who received one who were not in desperate need of a meal. Those with six figures in this country most likely employee the turkey recipients and without these people, who would have a job? Sure, let's tax our employers more so we can have our benefits cut and not receive a raise...EVER. This is a GREAT country...we ALL have the same opportunities...and if we choose not to pursue them, we have a government who will come to our rescue with every possible entitlement program you can think of.

SRVaughn5490
0
Points
SRVaughn5490 11/22/10 - 12:58 pm
0
0
Thank you boredinaug for

Thank you boredinaug for speaking the truth.....some will always have a hand out no matter how much the working class hand out it will NEVER be enough.

Chillen
17
Points
Chillen 11/22/10 - 01:11 pm
0
0
First of all, it's a good

First of all, it's a good charity. I hope they are helping the truly needy not just the "entitlement crowd".

Second, I saw a clip of this on the news. I saw one guy walk over, pick up his turkey and he didn't say thank you or smile. He just grabbed it and walked off with it. He is the "entitled" that I speak of.

Lastly, justus. I earn a good living and I don't get any government "handouts". You have no idea what you are talking about.

You'd fare so much better if you chiseled that wealth envy & racial chip off your shoulder. Those earning 6 figures & better are not the problem. The entitlement crowd that boredinaug outlines are the problem.

gustagirl
0
Points
gustagirl 11/22/10 - 01:28 pm
0
0
This is a time for all of us

This is a time for all of us to give thanks, not attack each other about who's democratic or republican, who's black or white. Be thankful that 1100 got a turkey and other food to put on th table. If that person didn't say thank you, pray for him and yourself.

Crabby Appleton
0
Points
Crabby Appleton 11/22/10 - 01:56 pm
0
0
I'd like justus to recount

I'd like justus to recount here in this forum the effort he makes to help his beloved, deprived brethern. He appears to have received an education (of sorts) and has the means to get on a computer and the internet and display his bile. If he channeled his racial rage into meaningful dialogue and a portion of his time and money into physically helping he might have some valid commentary here. But for now seems content to fill these forums with nothing more than racially based verbage intended to enlighten or intelligently engage no one, only to besmirk and belittle. If it weren't that I needed a laugh every now and then I'd have banished his drivel with the ignore user button.

raul
5729
Points
raul 11/22/10 - 02:35 pm
0
0
Crabbs, I think it is just a

Crabbs, I think it is just a game with justus. Gotta be!

Little Lamb
48999
Points
Little Lamb 11/22/10 - 03:39 pm
0
0
It is expected and perfectly

It is expected and perfectly normal to run out of food at a giveaway. It would have been more newsworthy if they didn't run out.

scoobynews
3896
Points
scoobynews 11/22/10 - 03:55 pm
0
0
These "giveaways" need to

These "giveaways" need to stop. Do like the other charities do? You go and apply to show REAL need. Most people who really are needy don't like all the show that this event draws every year. It was a good concept but I think now that Mr. Brown has passed it needs to be redone on a much lower media level.

sonitre
0
Points
sonitre 11/22/10 - 04:31 pm
0
0
They actually did not run

They actually did not run out! I was there volunteering...everyone who came through...well over 1100 people reciveved a turkey and a liter bottle of soda. There were actually turkeys left over. Also free fish was being fried on site and given away. Everyone was quite grateful and noticeably in need.

Sweet son
11626
Points
Sweet son 11/22/10 - 04:41 pm
0
0
justus mentioned that the

justus mentioned that the South Carolina folks had JB's estate held up. Maybe he is looking for a handout from that funding source. Just when I could agree with him about the policewoman teaching slavery his true colors have shown through again.

dstewartsr
20393
Points
dstewartsr 11/22/10 - 06:30 pm
0
0
I hope sonitre is right and

I hope sonitre is right and there are supplies for all the needy. It wouldn't be the first time the news was wrong because they wanted to report a result they anticipated.

But I agree with other posters about the level of 'need.' I volunteered in the past and found myself handing out food to better dressed people, needy people certainly with more precious metal hung about them and driving better cars than mine. These same recipients were the ones least likely to even give a nod of appreciation. As to their need, I noted several of them had simply dropped the items they didn't want in the trash. The barrel was overflowing onto the ground.

Crabby Appleton
0
Points
Crabby Appleton 11/22/10 - 07:39 pm
0
0
I agree that a lot of the

I agree that a lot of the people lined up to get these turkeys appeared to be anything but in need or under nourished. Some people will always partake of something free regardless of circumstances. While I try to keep an unjaundiced eye on the JB giveaways, I have to admit that at times the whole affair(s) appear to little more than photo ops to further an image.
I will give James Brown his due that he was truly a generous soul and in his heart he tried to help others. If he ever, ever fell short it was because of the devious managers, lawyers and advisors who made careers preying on James Browns educational weakness. He trusted everyone with a child like naivete. I do think his daughter Deanna has inherited her Dad's good heart and her heart is in the right place. Shame on those who control the James Brown estate for coming away looking like modern day scrooges.

bdouglas
5777
Points
bdouglas 11/23/10 - 08:28 am
0
0
They say the turkeys were

They say the turkeys were "...donated by Wal-Mart, Comcast, Amerigroup and local donors..." So what's worse? The not-so-needy and entitled people who line up for free turkeys just because they're free...or the politicians, the "reverend" and others who show up to hand them out so they get the good publicity when, in actuality, they really had nothing else to do with it? I was always under the assumption that the turkeys were all donated by the Brown family with a little help from sponsors. I can't knock them for trying to keep it alive, but the rest of the folks just seem to be looking for some good and free PR. Wonder how many people would show up if they had to prove there was a need? Wonder how many politicians (and Mr. Sharpton) would show up if the media ignored the event all together?

Cadence
219
Points
Cadence 11/23/10 - 09:57 am
0
0
Well, Oprah doesn't buy all

Well, Oprah doesn't buy all that junk she gives away; the companies donate it for the free advertising. The greedy recipients don't seem to care. and Oprah comes off looking generous. Mr. Brown was truly compassionate and thankful for what he had. He knew hunger and want, and he desired to help those in the community that he called home. Off my soapbox now.

Pops
14354
Points
Pops 11/23/10 - 10:05 am
0
0
The toy giveaway is the

The toy giveaway is the same.........companies donate the goods......

justthefacts
25025
Points
justthefacts 11/23/10 - 10:11 am
0
0
Why are the folks receiving

Why are the folks receiving Oprah's junk, "greedy"?

Doyougetitnow
4
Points
Doyougetitnow 11/23/10 - 11:03 am
0
0
First of all, giving is a

First of all, giving is a good thing when true needy people are blessed. I see no reason why government has anything to do with who gives and who does not give. Some people give lots and some people give what they can. Donating a box of saltines or a can of broth to a need is better than criticizing the efforts of those who try to help. Even the poorest of poor and the weakest of weak can give of their time and pray for people. Wake up and instead of criticizing...pray for our nation and our needy. Lend a hand...not a negative voice. God loves each and everyone of us. Look past the fault and see the NEED! Happy Thanksgiving and truly be thankful for your blessings.

Crabby Appleton
0
Points
Crabby Appleton 11/23/10 - 11:09 am
0
0
So, what you guys are saying

So, what you guys are saying is that James Brown's organization contributes NOTHING? Just collects the accolades? Al Sharpie's going to get his photo op you can bet on that ........

Darby
29231
Points
Darby 11/23/10 - 11:23 am
0
0
OK, this one does it for me.

OK, this one does it for me. I now know that justs4 is a radical right winger. Who else would write one post on almost any subject imaginable and turn it into some sort of racial diatribe? This guy is about as black as David Duke and is just baiting people. The truth is out there.

Chillen
17
Points
Chillen 11/23/10 - 11:46 am
0
0
justus is one of the liberals

justus is one of the liberals who are paid to sit around and post all day long on conservatives sites to bait people and to make mainstream America think that there are more radical progrissives than there really are.

They each have their own "specialty". Justus' specialty is racism. Some specialize in environmental issues, some the Consitution, some obama issues, some current events, etc.

Emerydan
10
Points
Emerydan 11/27/10 - 11:49 am
0
0
*

*

raul
5729
Points
raul 11/23/10 - 02:00 pm
0
0
I think the Rev. Al needs to

I think the Rev. Al needs to come off the hip and put some of his money into this charitable organization.

daphne3520
950
Points
daphne3520 11/23/10 - 06:13 pm
0
0
"Brown's daughter Deanna
Unpublished

"Brown's daughter Deanna Brown-Thomas"

The ONLY family member that has shown nothing but CLASS!!!!!!!!

scoobynews
3896
Points
scoobynews 11/24/10 - 03:40 pm
0
0
Americans don't know what

Americans don't know what "true need" is. If you have ever been to a third world country you see what REAL need is. Most often these people are happy to get a used pair of shoes. I recently saw a bag at the dumpsters that had ripped open (I guess as they attempted to throw it in the dumpster) with shoes that had barely if ever been worn. I watched that video for the first time today and I saw quite a few hefty look folks walking out of there with food. If they have "true need" how on Earth are they so BIG. I am don't begrudge anyone something if they are truly in need but we all know that many of today's so called "needy" get plenty of handouts this is just one more on the list.

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