The Beatles: Fab Four AND Civil Rights Activists

An old Beatles performance contract set to be auctioned gives some new insight into the values of the Fab Four early in their career. The document is for a 1965 concert and states that the group "not be required to perform in front of a segregated audience." Host Audie Cornish has more.

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(SOUNDBITE OF SONG "HELP")

AUDIE CORNISH, Host:

An old Beatles performance contract set to be auctioned gives some new insight into the values of the Fab Four early in their career. The document is for a 1965 concert at the Cow Palace outside San Francisco. It states that the group not be required to perform in front of a segregated audience. A year earlier, the band had refused to appear at a whites-only performance at the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Florida. John Lennon said at the time: We never play to segregated audiences and we aren't going to start now. I'd sooner lose our appearance money. According to the BBC, the Cow Palace contract also states that security was to include 150 uniformed police officers. Turns out that wasn't quite enough protection. At some point, many of the 17,000 concertgoers rushed the stage. The Beatles, who had retreated until the mayhem was put down, returned to finish their 12-song set, concluding with "I'm Down."

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