The National Mall was host to a grand Soul Train line last Thursday, as the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture celebrated its acquisition of items from the iconic TV show that created the Black party staple. As Soul Train marks it’s 40th anniversary, signature props have been donated to the Museum, which will open in 2015. Among them: the“Applause” signs, the 10-foot-wide neon “Soul Train” sign, the neon “Soul Train Awards” sign, silver African heads from the awards program, and the famous “Scramble Board”, on which two audience members would spell out the name of a popular artist or Black hero “who’s name you should know”, according to host Don Cornelius.
Tyrone “the Bone” Proctor, one of the original Soul Train dancers, led the crowd and taught some of his signature moves. Lonnie G. Bunch, the founding director of the museum told the crowd that the show “transmitted African American culture to an unbelievably broad audience. ‘Soul Train’ was around long enough to shape many generations. It became this interesting snapshot of several generations of African American culture and style.”
Soul Train is one of the longest running nationally syndicated first run programs in history; it debuted in 1971 and ran nationally until 2006. Classic episodes now run on Centric, which also airs the Soul Train Awards. The Soul Train website features a number of columnists and also has more information on the history of “the hippest trip in America.”
Any Clutchettes recall watching Soul Train on Saturday mornings? Here’s one of my faves…enjoy!