Jump up and shout

Music legends The Isley Brothers to be the latest inductees to the St. Louis Walk of Fame

By Charlotte Beard

The sidewalks along the 6100-6600 blocks of Delmar Boulevard tell a story of rich heritage for St. Louisans. These Delmar Loop sidewalks hold brass stars and informative plaques for St. Louis inductees in art, music, architecture, literature, journalism, civil rights, education, science, political activism, sports, acting, entertainment and broadcasting. 

On April 24, the St. Louis Walk of Fame will induct musical talents The Isley Brothers into the showcase. Ron and Ernie Isley will be in attendance. The induction ceremony is free to the public and will take place in front of The Pageant in the Delmar Loop located at 6161 Delmar at 11:30 a.m. The ceremony is expected to last less than a half hour and will be preceded by music from a four-piece ragtime band.

Natives of Cincinnati, Ohio, the Isley Brothers moved to St. Louis in 1998 and sources state they have lived here more than 20 years. Their musical career has brought us popular songs such as “Shout,” “It’s Your Thing,” “Twist & Shout,” “Fight the Power,” “Contagious” and more. 

At the ceremony, Joe Edwards, Founder of the St. Louis Walk of Fame, will unveil the new Star and read the plaque that will accompany it before introducing Ron and Ernie Isley. Attendees can expect to hear words from the Isley Brothers before the short ceremony closes with music from the band.

Edwards created St. Louis Walk of Fame in 1988 to draw world-wide attention to great St. Louisans who have affected the culture. 

“This is an educational and lifetime achievement award that we want to get out around the country,” stated Edwards.

Each year’s nominees for the St. Louis Walk of Fame must meet two criteria: 1) St. Louis birthplace or spent formative or creative years here, and 2) accomplishments have had a national impact on our cultural heritage. Nominations can be received from anyone. 

The selection process is conducted by 120 St. Louisans who make up the Walk of Fame selection committee. The committee includes the chancellors of all area universities, key people from local libraries, arts organizations and historical societies, media journalists and select citizens that possess an informed understanding of St. Louis’ cultural heritage. Former inductees are also given an opportunity to vote. The top three nominees are honored in the respective year. The inductee’s star is accompanied by a plaque which contains a biography summarizing the achievements and inductee’s connection to St. Louis.

Edwards shared there are two more St. Louisans to be inducted later this year and that this is the first year that all three inductees are African American. Henry Hampton (filmmaker) died in 1998 and Elizabeth Keckley (former slave turned civil rights activist) died in 1907.

Edwards shared that Keckley became Mary Todd Lincoln’s confidante and wrote a book about the Lincoln family and her days in Washington, D.C. with them. 

“St. Louis is just remarkable in the caliber of people that have come from here,” he said.

Before Edwards started the nonprofit organization, he thought he would start with a small museum to highlight great St. Louisans. 

“The more I thought about it that would be difficult, it would be expensive to do. Also, the hours wouldn’t make it available all the time. Instead I decided to do it as a walk of fame to have it open 24/7 and have it accessible to everyone from every background – every financial background, every age background. What was (most) important to me was to do the research and have the informative plaques. I like the Hollywood Walk of Fame but if you don’t recognize a person you don’t know if it’s a silent film star, a great director, or a great actress. The way I did this one you can find out right then and there a little bit about the person in addition to their St. Louis connection.”

To make a nomination for the year 2020, send a letter to the St. Louis Walk of Fame office with the name, date and place of birth, and a short history of the individual. Include the nominee’s St. Louis connection and a description of their national impact. Address letters to: Nominations Committee – St. Louis Walk of Fame, 6504 Delmar in The Loop, St. Louis, MO 63130-4501. For more information about the organization or other details visit www.stlouiswalkoffame.org.

CUTLINE: Submitted photo On April 24, the St. Louis Walk of Fame will induct musical talents The Isley Brothers into the showcase.