This post originally appeared on the Library as Incubator Project in August 2012.

by Erinn Batykefer

As any music buff knows, a light went out this past May when Chuck Brown, the “godfather of Go-go,” died at Johns Hopkins Hospital at the age of 75.  Go-go is something of a DC phenomenon; the genre developed in the 70s and has evolved into a hip-shaking blend of funk, R&B, and early hip-hop that relies on jam grooves and call-and-response vocals, with notable artists like The Young Senators, Black Heat, and of course,  Chuck Brown and The Soul Searchers.

This photo was taken on September 15, 2010 in Mount Vernon Square, Washington, DC, US, using an Apple iPhone. Via Flickr user, Burnt Pixel.

Go-go still thrives as a regional form in the DC Metro area.  It is inextricably linked to the history and culture of the city, and Chuck Brown is acknowledged as its driving creative force.  So it makes sense that the DC Public Library has big plans to memorialize Chuck Brown with a one-of-a-kind archival collection that will be part of their Washingtoniana Special Collection.

According to Washingtoniana Archivist Derek Gray, DCPL’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library is in the midst of a massive 40th birthday party this week, and festivities will include some outreach for the growing collection of Chuck Brown / Go-Go ephemera:

“The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library will be celebrating its 40th anniversary from Tuesday, August 21 to Saturday, August, 25.  The closing event for the celebration will be a 70s-style family block party.  I plan  to speak briefly about the Archive; Jimi Dougans, founding member of the Young Senators, will also speak about his group and Go-go’s cultural impact on the city.  We’ll have a table set up to accept donations of materials related to Chuck Brown and Go-go, and hopefully this latest outreach effort will be successful!”

Want to get involved?

Learn how you can contribute to the Chuck Brown/Go-Go Archive:

And stay tuned for updates on this #libraryasincubator collection in the future!

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