Hundreds Honor ‘Soul Train’ Creator Don Cornelius

Source: Anthony McCartney / AP / ABC News

Through music, scripture and song, Don Cornelius was remembered Thursday as the man who elevated black culture and entertainment with his “Soul Train,” demolishing barriers of race and culture, and changing the nation’s history.

Hundreds of family, friends, entertainers, sports figures and even some former “Soul Train” dancers gathered to honor Cornelius’ legacy and recall their recollections of the baritone-voiced host and entrepreneur. The nearly three-hour memorial service featured plenty of laughter and music, including a rousing performance of “Love’s In Need of Love” by Stevie Wonder.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson delivered a eulogy that centered on how Cornelius’ creation created a platform for black music and culture that hadn’t been seen on television when “Soul Train” debuted in 1970.

“Don, we say thanks for being conductor of the ‘Soul Train’ and laying the tracks,” Jackson said. “We thank you because we needed you so badly and you helped us so much.”

Several speakers noted that Cornelius didn’t just give a platform to performers such as Wonder, Aretha Franklin and the Jackson 5, but he also gave opportunities to black cameramen and demonstrated that television programming aimed at black audiences was viable.

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