Birth Name: James Joseph Brown
Date of Birth: May 3, 1933
Place of Birth: Barnwell, South Carolina
Date of Death: December 25, 2006
Place of Death: Atlanta, Georgia
James Brown was an American singer, dancer, and actor. He was known as “The Godfather of Soul”. James’s parents, Susie (Behling) and Joseph “Joe” Gardner Brown, were both African-American.
James had said that his father was born under the name “Joe Gardner”, and later took on the surname “Brown” after a woman who had helped raise him, Mattie Brown.
James had stated that his paternal grandfather was “pure Indian, a Cherokee” and that his mother’s ancestry had a “strong Asian element and some American Indian”. James had stated that his maternal grandfather was “highly Asian”, and that his maternal grandmother’s mother was “almost a full-blooded American Indian”. It is not clear if these claims of Native American and Asian ancestry have been documented/verified.
James’s maternal grandparents were Monnie/Mony Behling (the son of Stephen Behling and Sarah) and Rebecca “Becca” Bryant (the daughter of Perry Bryant and Susan).
Sources: Genealogy of James Brown – http://genealogy.about.com
James’s statements about his ancestry – http://www.worldcat.org