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Gay Augusta

James Brown in Augusta:

The future R&B star James Brown moved to Augusta at the age of 6 with his father after his parents separated. His father soon sent him to live with an aunt, who happened to run a house of prostitution. The boy hung around the streets, dropped out of school in the seventh grade, and hustled in various ways: shining shoes, sweeping stores, selling and trading stamps, washing cars or dishes and singing in talent contests. He also performed "buck dances" to entertain troops from nearby Camp Gordon for tossed coins. He taught himself to play the harmonica and learned some guitar from blues guitarist Tampa Red, in addition to learning the piano and drums. At sixteen, convicted of armed robbery and sent to juvenile detention center upstate, he met future R&B legend Bobby Byrd. Part of his release agreement at 19 was that he not return to Augusta or Richmond County. A friendship with another legend of R&B led to Brown's finishing out the remaining tour dates of Little Richard when the star left pop music in 1957 to become a preacher. The subsequent years of his career need no elaboration, but he did return to this area in later years, to live at Beech Island, South Carolina, directly across the Savannah River from Augusta. After his death in 2006, the procession for Brown's public memorial In Augusta visited the James Brown statue, as mourners made their way to the James Brown Arena.