From The Washington Post:
More than 100 cities across the country start to burn after King’s assassination, and Boston appears to be ripe for trouble. The city was no paradise of race relations, and this is where King earned the title of “doctor,” from Boston University. He met his wife there. People — such as African Americans forced to live in ghettos in Roxbury, in the South End — remember.
And who has a concert scheduled for the next night?
James Brown! Babybabybaby!
Scenario 1: Let the concert go on, and you have about 15,000 fans, presumably most of them black, come to downtown Boston for a concert by Soul Brother No. 1, who wasn’t exactly in line with that nonviolence thing, with security provided mostly by white cops with billy clubs. Scenario 2: Cancel the concert, and have those 15,000 come downtown to find out The Man wouldn’t let The Godfather in town.
This is what’s known as a lose-lose situation.
Brand-new mayor Kevin White is adamant that the show must be canceled. He’s talked into changing that position by Tom Atkins, a Harvard Law student who happens to be the only black person on the city council. (And, you know, thereby deputized to deal with This Negro From Out of Town.)
White decides to solve the problem by slapping the show on live television, and offering refunds to anyone who asks.