Birth Name: James Joseph Brown
Date of Birth: May 3, 1933
Place of Birth: Barnwell, South Carolina, U.S.
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/Monroe Behling (the son of Stephen Behling and Sarah) and Rebecca “Becca” Bryant (the daughter of Perry Bryant and Susan). Stephen was the son of Moses Behling and Charlotte Williams.
Sources: Genealogy of James Brown – http://genealogy.about.com
Genealogy of James Brown (focusing on his mother’s side) – https://www.findagrave.com
James’s statements about his ancestry – http://www.worldcat.org