Did you know the famous James Brown spent a lot of time in Toccoa, Georgia?
Some of you may have known this, but for other’s this is the first they’ve heard of it. One Toccoa citizen is taken the front line to ensure James Brown and the Famous Flames is remembered for their mark in Toccoa, Ga.
I respectfully write to you in reference to, in my humble opinion, the lack of sufficient representation of the History/Contributions, James Brown and the Famous Flames made, here in Toccoa GA. I have lived here in Toccoa for approx. 5 years and in that time have seen some members of our local community continually downplay the important contributions to Local/American History made by James Brown and the Famous Flames. I strive to understand the true politics behind this situation and have been told by one city official that the Family’s foundation has been opposed to addressing the History Toccoa played in the rise of James Brown, the Man/Entrepreneur (not just the music).
I am a business/property owner here and have an ownership interest in several historical buildings including the “Rebel Café“, The Alexander Hotel and the Greyhound Bus station, all which were segregated (to say the least). We (volunteers) also initiated the “Toccoa Community Garden” on a property (approx. 1 acre) that we, as a Family donated, located on Broad st/MLK in a racially diverse section of town. This project received great local and City support, but sadly also received subversive criticism from some of the less open-minded residents of our community. We as a family have directly experienced the remnants of the segregated south mindset that persist in our community (and in some local officials) to this day. We continually strive to eradicate this cancer.
I would love to open a dialog with you and/or the Family’s foundation to see if there is any common ground in addressing (officially) Toccoa’s role in James Browns incredible journey/history. This History is important to our community, especially our youth (and the nation) and its future in an ever changing world that still needs to recognize ALL important contributions from its past. Contributions, especially those positive role models, that overcame the great hardships and adversity of that Era and that, as previously mentioned, in some ways continue to persist to an even greater degree, to plague our community to this day.
My passion is rooted in my desire to leave a better world for All, including my 7 biracial children, age 10 months to 22 years, and the positive contribution they can make in carrying this torch forward. My two grown Children have traveled the World, including the Civil rights movement cities of the South…. Anniston, Birmingham, Selma, Montgomery, Atlanta, Philadelphia MS etc. They have great desire to preserve this history so it is never repeated. My 22-year-old, Alexandra Elizabeth Parker, represented the Dominican Republic as Miss Earth DR 2015 in Vienna Austria, she continues to Model Professionally and this week has an ART exhibition at a Los Angeles Gallery (her studio is in Toccoa). She is as vocal/passionate or even more so than I. Additionally she will be competing in Miss Universe next year. My 21-year-old, Tania Parker, is working on her design company based in Miami (and soon in Toccoa). Tania Graduated High School here in Toccoa. She is extremely focused and persistent. My younger children are completing their public education as well as even learning to crawl/ walk (10 mo. old).
I was born and raised on the West coast and spent my summers in the South (with Grandmother, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins) during the turbulent 70s and 80s. I personally have lived/traveled the world extensively, including Europe, SE Asia, Africa and S America. I leave next month for 26 days in China and North Korea……I cherish and embrace the diversity of our country/planet and hope my children grow up to be Ambassadors of Good Will and make a difference, especially not forgetting our local community in their efforts.
Additionally, we as a Family have a presence (own property) in counties south of Augusta and see the extent of James Brown’s positive influence on Augusta, including the “James Brown Arena“, Family historical Tour, exhibition/Augusta Museum of History, statue, Family Foundation etc. etc. Along those lines, I personally, as do many residents of Toccoa, feel James Brown’s history here in Toccoa is a very important contribution that has not been adequately memorialized and I, from a heartfelt and philanthropic standpoint, would love to see that change and would gladly lend my support to that cause.