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In Honor Of Don Cornelius Legendary Creator And Host Of “Soul Train”

Rep. Laura Richardson

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Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor, remember and celebrate the life of Don Cornelius, the legendary creator and host of ``Soul Train,'' the ground-breaking television program that helped define my generation and revolutionized the way Americans--and millions of others around the world--learned, experienced, and loved soul music. Don Cornelius passed away on February 2, at the age of 75.

``Soul Train,'' which he hosted from 1971 to 1993, exposed African American recording artists and groups to national audiences and boosted the reach and popularity of every artist who appeared on the show. The list reads like a who's who of musical giants: Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5; James Brown, the ``Godfather of Soul,'' Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight and the Pips; the Temptations, the Supremes, Earth, Wind, and Fire; Marvin Gaye; Al Green; Chaka Khan, and the mighty, mighty Dells.

Don Cornelius joined the Marines and was stationed in South Korea during the height of the Cold War. He later became a television journalist reporting on civil rights and urban issues. This background prepared him to conceive and make real ``Soul Train,'' which succeeded in using the love of good music to help bridge racial and social divisions in our country.

As one of the millions of young girls who tuned in every week to ``Soul Train'' to sing and dance along with that week's musical guests, I want to express my heartfelt thanks to Don Cornelius for the sheer joy and happiness he brought to so many people and for ``Soul Train'' 's positive impact in bringing people of diverse backgrounds together around their shared love of good music and dance.

We will always remember ``Soul Train,'' the iconic television show best known for its flamboyant colors, striking fashion, great music, revolutionary dance moves, and the famous ``Soul Train Line.''

Don Cornelius lived a consequential life. He made a difference. And for that, I conclude by wishing him, as he always concluded each ``Soul Train'' show by wishing us, as always, ``love, peace and soul!''