Godfather's giveaways might be moved

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Augusta civic center complex General Manager Monty Jones is in talks with James Brown's daughter about moving the annual Thanksgiving turkey and Christmas toy giveaways to the arena named in his honor.

Deanna Brown Thomas , the president of the Brown Family Childrens Foundation, said she's considering it, trying to decide what her father would have done had he been extended the offer.

In the two years since his death, the giveaways have been where Mr. Brown always held them, and he had emotional attachments to both places.

Dyess Park, where he handed out turkeys, is in the neighborhood he grew up in and along the boulevard named for him. The Imperial Theatre -- where he made his final public appearance at his 15th toy giveaway three days before his Christmas 2006 death -- was where he rehearsed before tours and where he held the funeral of his third wife, Adrienne .

The Godfather of Soul was moved, though, when the civic center was renamed for him two months before his death. The spacious arena would spare people from standing in line in the cold.

"It's hard to say what he would say," Mrs. Brown Thomas said. "We've got to sit down, mull over it ..."

FINDING MERRY CHRISTMAS: Back in 1960, The Augusta Chronicle featured a holiday story on the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Horace Christmas , who had named their oldest daughter Merry.

Merry Christmas was in the fifth grade at John Milledge Elementary when the newspaper interviewed her for a holiday feature.

Merry, 10, said she didn't mind the teasing that came with her name. Besides, she said, it was easy to sign Christmas cards.

Where is Merry today? Merry Christmas Peel now works in the Augusta State University Department of Math/Computer Science and has done so for 19 years.

"I had a wonderful time growing up with the name 'Merry Christmas,' " she wrote in an e-mail. "I remember getting the most applause at graduation. People didn't want me to change my name when I was married!"

HOLIDAY SHOPPER? One of the odd calls fielded in The Chronicle newsroom on Christmas Eve was from a gentleman who wanted to know whether the Xmart was opening any time soon.

Early this month, a federal court hearing was canceled. The city attorneys and those representing the folks who want to open the adult video and paraphernalia store have been fighting it out in court.

The Augusta Commission, faced with an angry crowd of residents in 2002, voted to reverse the decision of the city's zoning board and deny Augusta Video's zoning exception that would have allowed it to open at its chosen Gordon Highway spot.

The short answer for the caller -- it's doubtful the grand opening will be anytime soon. Check back next Christmas.

GAME DAY: Who says video games are just for the youngsters?

That's not the case at Venus Cain' s house, where the Richmond County school board member spent part of the Christmas holiday jamming to the video game Rock Band.

While relatives were in town for the holiday, she grabbed the bass guitar and rocked out to the classics. Family members take the game seriously, she said. No one wants to be booed off the stage.

REMEMBERING JED: One of the saddest things about 23-year-old Justin "Jed" Elmore 's funeral Monday was his unsmiling, stone-faced photo on the programs. It was also on memorial T-shirts worn by mourners and in his newspaper obituary.

It was his most recent arrest mug shot, the one that news outlets have been using, courtesy of the Richmond County Sheriff's Office.

Mr. Elmore, shot by police Dec. 14 in an incident still under investigation, had a lengthy record of arrests for minor crimes, including possession of drugs with intent to sell, traffic offenses and running from police. His last conscious moments were spent in confrontation with deputies. There, in that picture he's being remembered by, he stares into a deputy's camera.

SUPREMACISTS, NOT RACISTS: He might be part of a national organization that's been labeled a hate group, but Bobby Price says he's no racist.

The chairman of the Augusta chapter of the New Black Panthers Party says he wants to embolden poor blacks to emerge from the shadow of slavery and Jim Crow, and unlike the group's leaders in other parts of the country, he doesn't see where insulting whites and Jewish people fits into that.

"I'm about opposing racism, and if I take flak from those who think that's too soft, I'm OK with that," Mr. Price said.

He and the chapter's six other members raised the ire of Richmond County Sheriff Ronnie Strength on Monday when, carrying shotguns and assault rifles, they led a march through Cherry Tree Crossing housing project to protest the fatal police shooting of Justin Elmore. The sheriff dispatched deputies in riot gear, and Mr. Price, wanting to avoid a confrontation, had his people put away their guns and quickly wrapped up the demonstration.

They aren't part of the late Huey P. Newton 's leftist civil rights organization, but rather followers of the New Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, a militant black supremacist group that splintered from the Nation of Islam in the late 1980s.

Nationally, the group has a terrible reputation. Its leaders spew anti-Semitic, racist vitriol. The Southern Poverty Law Center considers it a hate group, and the Huey P. Newton Foundation has called it illegitimate and denounced its hatred of whites. Its late national chairman, Khalid Abdul Muhammad, once said, "There are no good crackers, and if you find one, kill him before he changes."

"I don't personally feel that," Mr. Price said after being read the quote. "I understand that some offensive things have been said about whites and others, but that doesn't define who we are."

To him, black supremacy doesn't mean blacks are better than other races, he said. It's about teaching young blacks that their history goes back further than their ancestors' arrival in slave ships, that blacks founded the first human civilizations, he said.

Regardless, the protest Monday wasn't about race, Mr. Price said. One of the deputies involved in the shooting is black.

"It's not about the color of the person's skin," he said. "We see it as a police-brutality issue."

We thank staffers Johnny Edwards, Greg Gelpi, Billy Kirby and Sandy Hodson for today's column.

Comments (18) Add comment
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SargentMidTown
8
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SargentMidTown 12/28/08 - 03:46 am
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Please organize a

Please organize a neighborhood watch on your block and report any drug dealing. Drugs destroy neighborhoods Call 706-821-1425

patriciathomas
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patriciathomas 12/28/08 - 06:04 am
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Bobby Price might be

Bobby Price might be interested in knowing the KKK uses the exact same rhetoric in justifying their existence as he uses in explaining what the New Black Panthers represent. He might also investigate the perspective that as long as black Americans feel government subsidy is a viable way of life, they'll never throw off the shackles of slavery.

As It Is
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As It Is 12/28/08 - 06:22 am
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Black Panther Hogwash

Black Panther Hogwash propoanda. If you really wanted to empower black youth, you would do everrything in your power to help them acheive everything from their educational opportunities. You would assist in removing crime, violence, and drugs from within the community. You sure as heck wouldn't come into a neighborhood where you don't live, aren't wanted by the residents, and unlawfully assemble and carry weapons on government property in an offensive manner. The black panthers (new or old) are as pathetic as the KKK and other hate and racist groups. If Bobby Price really cares about his race, there are many positve ways to help improve the quality and opportunity of life but being a part of any organization such as the black panthers will never acheive those goals. And, if you want to embolden poor blacks or any race for that matter, EDUCATION and STRONG WORK ETHICS and a RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD where you love others and wish to make them better through positive means is a much better way to proceed.

jg41160
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jg41160 12/28/08 - 08:14 am
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Any person who views existing

Any person who views existing solely through government subsidy as an acceptable long term way of life is enslaved. That includes all races. Check the numbers. This is not just a Black problem.

patriciathomas
42
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patriciathomas 12/28/08 - 08:34 am
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I agree ig, but your post

I agree ig, but your post misses the point. Only the black community gets defensive about a multi-generational act by saying "others do it, too". Look what has been done to the black community by the subsidy system and the acceptance of total support by the tax payer as a viable lifestyle. My comment isn't intended as point of blame, but merely noting a social problem that needs to be addressed. This can't be done until it is faced as a type of slavery, where the government,( one political party specifically), holds a giant hammer over the head of a specific race. The said race is manipulated like a rodent through a maze. Denying the situation exists won't change it. My earlier comment never said the situation was considered acceptable, just viable. No social stigma within the community.

christian134
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christian134 12/28/08 - 08:38 am
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Bobby Price your

Bobby Price your rationalization of the presence of the Black Panthers is great...It really sounds exactly like the mantra for the KKK...Mr. Price did you substitute black for the white because it sounds very familiar to the KKK's explanation as for their existence?...

HYPOCRITES 08
7
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HYPOCRITES 08 12/28/08 - 08:42 am
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Thank you 41160. I do not

Thank you 41160. I do not know where PT get off directing his comments towards " Black Americans"? As you pointed out, this not not a problem based on race. PT your 7:34 AM post is still a generalization of Blacks. None of the Blacks I know say anything about what " Others do". We are too busy working and providing for our families to worry about what " Others do". Again I do not know what company you keep, but IMHO, sound like to me you need to keep better company.

patriciathomas
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patriciathomas 12/28/08 - 09:00 am
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Hypo, read the 7:14 post by

Hypo, read the 7:14 post by ig. "This is not just a Black problem". Name another race that has been decimated by the American subsidy programs and is all too often referenced by this decimation. Being defensive to the point of blindness won't improve the situation, it will only propagate it. Of course my comment is general, it's not a specific problem. It's not all inclusive. It does exist.

karmakills123
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karmakills123 12/28/08 - 09:14 am
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"that blacks founded the

"that blacks founded the first human civilizations, he said."....not sure about the rest of ya'll but my Lord God created the first human..........................................

JohnQPublic
5
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JohnQPublic 12/28/08 - 09:36 am
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The once abused now becoming

The once abused now becoming the abuser. If the NBP demonstration was supposed to be peaceful, then why the weapons?

crazyoldman
21
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crazyoldman 12/28/08 - 11:22 am
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Rollin' rollin' rollin'

Rollin' rollin' rollin' Rollin' rollin' rollin' Rollin' rollin' rollin' Rollin' rollin' rollin' rawhide... Rollin' rollin' rollin' Though the streams are swollin' Keep them doggies rollin', rawhide Move 'em on, - head them up - Head 'em up, - move 'em on - Move 'em on, - head 'em up - Rawhide Cut 'em out, - ride 'em in - Ride 'em in, - cut 'em out - Cut 'em out Ride 'em in rawhide... Keep movin' movin' movin' Though they're disapprovin' Keep them doggies movin', rawhide

SargentMidTown
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SargentMidTown 12/28/08 - 12:46 pm
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The Cheery Tree Crossing

The Cheery Tree Crossing episode is a public embarrassment for all of ALL of us decent people living in downtown Augusta. The biggest problem with downtown is that we have too many multigenerational welfare people. Until we displace more of them with educated, upwardly mobile people there is going to be a downtown PR problem. Priviate gentrification not HUD or federal funding is the answer. Landlords who are accepting that section 8 check because it is a sure thing are invariably killing the golden egg laying goose and slinging out the infant with the wash water. The findings are out. Please google section 8 and crime.

corgimom
27968
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corgimom 12/28/08 - 01:59 pm
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"including possession of

"including possession of drugs with intent to sell"- I don't consider that a minor crime.

FallingLeaves
27
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FallingLeaves 12/28/08 - 02:31 pm
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Having the give-away at the

Having the give-away at the James Brown Arena is no guarantee that you will get in out of the cold. Ask the crowd that had to wait in the cold for an hour or so in line all the way from the Arena doors past the middle doors of the Bell Auditorium for Chambliss and Sarah Palin. We were told we could go in at a certain time and we didn't get to go in for about an hour after that time. Or is that sort of treatment only reserved for Republican crowds. There were no security checks at all and no one at the doors to greet us. What are we paying employees there for?

mable8
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mable8 12/28/08 - 03:20 pm
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"SUPREMACISTS, NOT RACISTS:

"SUPREMACISTS, NOT RACISTS: He might be part of a national organization that's been labeled a hate group, but Bobby Price says he's no racist.The chairman of the Augusta chapter of the New Black Panthers Party says he wants to embolden poor blacks to emerge from the shadow of slavery and Jim Crow, and unlike the group's leaders in other parts of the country, he doesn't see where insulting whites and Jewish people fits into that." Well, Price, for your information, insults DO fit into racism; you become angry when "white" or "jewish" people make jokes about "black" people, why shouldn't the reverse be true?? When you hurl your insults towards others because of what they happen to be, I consider it racism. Far as I am concerned, you are not emboldened through your words, but you are trashing another just because they are not "black" (which by the way is not a race or ethnicity--it is simply a color). If you want to embolden people of color, then why not teach them the appropriate, scientific terms which describes exactly what race and ethnicity is; even Dr. George W. Carver knew those differences and was proud of what they meant. What makes you any better?

Tujeez1
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Tujeez1 12/28/08 - 03:39 pm
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I believe popular public

I believe popular public consensus would be against moving the James Brown giveaways to the James Brown Arena. No need to give the Coliseum Authority any chance of screwing them up!

SargentMidTown
8
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SargentMidTown 12/28/08 - 04:08 pm
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What is the difference in

What is the difference in allowing crack cocaine to be sold in your neighbourhood and this?: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kJFaqrU3HfQ

SargentMidTown
8
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SargentMidTown 12/28/08 - 11:32 pm
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We want justice and dignity

We want justice and dignity for all.

The Cheery Tree Crossing episode is a public embarrassment for all of us decent
people living downtown. The biggest problem with this city like New Orleans, and Memphis is that we have hot spots of too many multigenerational welfare people. Until we compassionately, and strategically displace more of them with educated, upwardly mobile people their is going to be a downtown PR and crime problem. Private gentrification not HUD or federal funding is the answer. Landlords who are accepting that section 8 check solely because it is a sure thing, without realizing the possible future ghettoising that has occurred when too many section 8 families cluster.

These landlords are invariably killing the golden egg laying goose and slinging out the
slippery infant with the grey water. The findings are out. Please goggle
section 8 and crime.

Spare me the passe argument about gentrification causing segregation. This is a
mute issue because in 2009 their is a robust middle through upper class African American
population who will make splendid, welcomed downtown gentrifiers. The Memphis Flyer
explains the variables associat

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