Undate photograph of President Richard M. Nixon shaking hands with musician James Brown. (Rolling Stone)
KNOXVILLE (WVLT) – There was an East Tennessee connection among the 90,000 pages of documents and 200 hours of tape recordings recently released from President Richard M. Nixon’s achieves.
The formerly sealed records are part of the largest disclosure of 37th president’s papers and recordings since administration of Nixon's library was transferred from a privately-run institute to the National Archives in 2007.
Among the thousands of memos is a single report detailing the arrest of legendary musician James Brown and his arrest in Knoxville 36 years ago.
Brown, who is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and known as “The Godfather of Soul” was taken into custody before a concert on December 12th, 1972 for allegedly trying to incite a riot at the Knoxville Civic Auditorium and Coliseum.
The memo mentioning the arrest was found in a collection of formerly classified summaries titled “Information Concerning Civil Unrest and Acts of Violence."
Ironically, many of the summaries were written by W. Mark Felt, who then served as the Deputy Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Felt was later revealed as the man who went public with the Nixon's involvement in the Watergate scandal, which earned him the nickname “Deep Throat.”
At the time of his arrest, Brown, who passed away on Dec. 25th, 2006, owned WJBE 1430 AM. He purchased the East Knoxville station in 1967 when it was WGYW-AM and sold it in 1979.
The legendary singer also publicly supported Nixon's successful bid for reelection in 1972.