The creator of "Soul Train," who died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound at his home in the hills last month, never thought he got the credit or support he was due. When he died, he was going through a period of intense headaches, occasional seizures and social anxiety, Jennifer Media says in a piece in the New York Times that tries to size up the man and the legacy.
“You could fit all of Don’s friends in a phone booth and still have room,” said Clarence Avant, the music producer and one of those few friends, who lunched with him days before his death....
With his sharp suits, sky-high platform shoes, exuberant Afro and too-cool-for-school demeanor, he was revered by generations of Americans, black and white, their appointments with his Saturday show as regular as church. At his funeral at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Los Angeles, the Rev. Jesse Jackson spoke with pride about the number of white viewers who had told him about surreptitiously watching the show in suburban basements, fearing their parents’ disapproval. “He’s right up there with any civil rights leader of our generation,” Mr. Jackson said. “He gave people a chance to feel good about themselves.
“You pick the 20 most important people in the 20th century, and Don would be in the top 10,” Mr. Avant said over breakfast recently, his eyes welling up. “But he never got on the cover of Ebony magazine or Black Enterprise. I’ll never understand that.”