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Update: Chuck Berry Statue Kerfuffle in U. City

Categories: Community, News

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Editor's note: This post was updated with additional information late Thursday afternoon

Plans for the Chuck Berry statue set to be installed on Delmar in U. City were recently wedged between a rock 'n' roll and a hard place.

The statue, initiated by unofficial King of the Loop Joe Edwards in 2009, was threatened with delay by U. City's Park Commission after suggestions that it's being planned for park property - even though the Park Commission never actually signed off on the project. And a local activist is protesting the statue for a different reason: She says Berry's criminal record should bar him from being honored with a statue on tax-funded property, even if the statue itself was financed with donations.

U. City activist Elsie Glickert spoke to the city council, saying that Berry's felony convictions make him a bad choice for city-owned land.

"Chuck Berry is a felon," Glickert tells Daily RFT. "I personally am opposed to any tax-supported property hosting a tribute to him. I think an injunction should be brought about to stop it from happening." She's now awaiting feedback from the city.

Meanwhile, as the University City Patch website first reported earlier this week, the Park Commission discussed the statue at its meeting Tuesday. Members stated that, although city liaisons apparently took the project to the Municipal Commission on Arts and Letters in November 2009, it never was brought to them.

The members voted unanimously on Tuesday to give the statue the red light until they've been filled in.

The dispute pivoted on two distinct possibilities: Either the statue's future home next to Fitz's is on park grounds (and under the commission's authority) or it is just another part of U City (and free from its grasp).

The truth?

"It's not on park property," City Manager Lehman Walker tells Daily RFT. That means the statue, which was paid for by $100,000 in donations, won't be delayed by the Park Commission because, well, the commission has nothing to do with it.

And so that gray area ends.

"The park commission serves in an advisory way to matters pertaining to the park, and it's not on park ground," U. City Mayor Shelley Welsch says. "Keep in mind that the park commission is made up of volunteer residents, and it changes as people come and go. Their job is to do the best they can."

So what sparked the debate in the first place? John Sweeney, the commission's president, tells us, "A number of citizens brought it to our attention because of a number of rumors and innuendo."

But Sweeney indicated, in light of our reporting, that the park commission won't pursue the issue further: "If Mr. Walker told you it was city property and not park property, we don't have a dog in that fight.

"It has nothing to do with Chuck Berry," Sweeney adds. "I like his music."

As for the man who behind the statute, Joe Edwards, he didn't know about the kerfuffle until we called him. But he was happy to hear the park commission issue, at least, was settled - and he's firm in his belief that the statue will be the most famous in the city once it settles in.

"The base has already been poured, and the statue's finished," he says. "Just like people in Seattle go to see the Jimi Hendrix statue and people in Memphis go to see Elvis, people in St. Louis will go see Chuck."

Editor's note: This post was updated Thursday afternoon to reflect additional interviews.


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19 comments
Marknewlin
Marknewlin

They found hundreds of video tapes in his home from the restaurant restroom. Many had very very young girls recorded going to the bathroom! How is it he isn't even on the sex offender list for that? Anybody going to Blueberry Hill restaurant should check under the toilets for cameras. Chuck seems to be very close to the owner.And the girl he took to work at his brothel on Kingshighway was only 13!!!!Race has nothing to do with this, except that blacks alway play the race card when they have no other argument .

Suegcole
Suegcole

Here's the last laugh: With no disrespect intended to the artist, the statue doesn't look like Chuck Berry

Suegcole
Suegcole

I applaud Ms. Glickert.1st; I love Chuck Berry's music and what he did for Rock n' Roll. Having said that 2) the man is a disgusting pig. I personally have witnessed his abhorrent behavior. I worked at a Rock concert hall in Atlanta in the late 70's and Chuck Berry played there. I was enthused to be seeing one of the greats, but people on the "inside," both male and female, were telling me "he's a disgusting man."the Concert night came, and he was given the "Key to the City' onstage by an Atlanta Council Woman. For whatever it's worth, for the record, she was also black.

He embraced her in a big hug, and she was warmly hugging him back. She was totally unaware that he had raised his hand in the gesture of "Giving the finger" for all the crowd to see, then lowered his fingered hand as if he were inserting it into her butt. All of this behing her back, but dramatically acted out for the crowd. I applaud the Atlanta audience for not reacting. No cheers, no applause. Silence. Everyone was probably offended. I know I was.

iron supplement
iron supplement

Angstrom Minerals are the smallest form of liquid minerals today.Some products claim to be as small as 10 angstroms. That is small. But not as small as the minerals by the Angstrom Mineral Company.

Jeff Kopp
Jeff Kopp

Wow, I've never heard Chuck Berry's "Criminal" record. What year was it released?

ScumBag
ScumBag

Please note: Hogsmellgoods mom was the young lady in the infamaous video who was enjoying Chucks golden shower ;-)

Hogsmellgood
Hogsmellgood

Wolfgang, don't you realize that the race card is played in every instance involving a black/white issue? Duke lacrosse. Tawana Brawley. Nolan Richardson. And it goes on and on. It will NEVER cease. NEVER. It's all the black race can fall back on. There are extreme issues of racism rampant in the United States daily, but it's what they now refer to as "reverse racism".  The white middle class American male is the most trampled on individual in the world as far as racism. We can't jump. We can't run fast. We have no rhythm. We can't be NBA players. If we come up with a white quarterback...it's racism. Oh, forgot, we can't dance...I guess that goes with rhythm, though. We can't use simple testing to determine the qualifications for the FIRE DEPARTMENT or the POLICE DEPARTMENT. In-freaking-credible.

The problem is, racism is only recognized as a white thing used against the black race. Blacks can't possible commit racism...NOT. Blacks can't possibly commit hate crimes either...NOT.

And Chuck Berry was a two-time guest of the state of Missouri at Jefferson City for robbery in Kansas City and prostitution trafficking of a 15 year old girl in the St.Louis area. And then the cameras in the women's restroom years after that. The guy has NO conscience.

Wolfgang Guhl
Wolfgang Guhl

Daryl, what does racism which takes place in the US everyday as you say have to do with this particular case? What do MLK and Rosa Parks to do with Chuck Berry? How do you know that "Hogsmellgood" and Elsie Glickert argue from a racist point of view? Is everyone, who dares to criticize Chuck Berry, a racist? Of course you play more gigs on your own than with Chuck, but would you deny that the ones you play with Chuck are more of a high profile gig than the ones you play on your own? I did not claim you wrote your statement because you want to play more gigs in the future for Chuck. I only said I consider this rather likely. I can be wrong on that though. However I am not wrong in saying he is a criminal. He has been to prison multiple times over a period of some 40 years and been sued more than that. Living in Germany, as you rightfully state I am a witness of him ignoring contracts and agreements he made with promoters. I am also a witness of him blackmailing a highly regarded German University Professor, who also happens to be a promoter. Regarding him performing at an animal abuse festival, I am angry at that for good reason, but never claimed it to be a criminal act. It just goes to show the low life profile he has got. No other big name artist ever played this festival before or after and I don't have a problem with artists performing in this country in general as you falsely claim, but with artists, who perform at this particular festival.  

Daryl Davis
Daryl Davis

Wolfgang, you live in Germany and have never lived in the U.S. and have never visited here for any length of time, if at all.  I would welcome you to come stay with me anytime and I will show you the racism that takes place every day.  Playing piano with CB occasionally has nothing to do with my commentary.  You know my musical resume as well as my work with the Ku Klux Klan and race relations.  Your comment is out of line.  CB is certainly one of my musical idols, but I play more gigs on my own than I do with him, which negates your statement about me looking to get more jobs.  Why don't you share the truth and let it be known that you are very angry with CB because he chose to perform in Spain at a time when you were opposed to any American performer who would perform in a country that promotes bullfighting.  I notice you did not address the criminal records of Rosa Parks and MLK.  Nor can you prove that he installed the cameras.  You need to correct your knowledge of Chuck Berry and supplement it with more U.S. History.  As I told someone else, we have memorials to Presidents like Jefferson who owned slaves and fathered children by them while married, and Kennedy who had affairs with movie stars in the White House and Clinton who did the same.  Kind regards - Daryl Davis   

Wolfgang Guhl
Wolfgang Guhl

Just for clarification purposes: Daryl Davis is, as insiders know, Chuck Berry's piano player and most probably only defends him to put himself into the position to get further playing jobs. Chuck Berry has been convicted of crimes multiple times.And that's a fact, dear Daryl. Put your rose tinted glasses down and accepted the fact that Chuck Berry is a criminal, no matter how great his music and influence is and regardless of his skin color and the fact he indeed suffered from racism (as did B.B. King, Bo Diddley, Fats Domino et cetera, who did not turn into criminals though). Daryl, you are a great, great person, but if ethical standards mean something to you, you should finally face the truth and stop defending the rotten personality of our musical hero, who happens to be a first class fraud. We can easily enjoy his music without spreading fairy tales about the wonderful person he is (in fact not). I am not sure whether he deserves this statue, I will leave it up for the people in charge to decide.

Daryl Davis
Daryl Davis

To Hogsmellgood:  Just for clarification purposes, it is NOT a fact that Chuck Berry himself placed the cameras to which you are referring.  That has never been proven.  Furthermore, there are statues of Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks all over the country.  Did you know they too had arrest records, or has that part of American History slipped by you.  I personally went and saw Rosa Parks casket in the Capitol Rotunda in Washington, DC.  The day after she was buried, the governor of Alabama expunged her criminal record and gave her a pardon for refusing to give up her seat on the bus.  You and Elsie Glickert need to get off your racist soapboxes and move into the 21st century.  Daryl Davis - Silver Spring, MD

Hogsmellgood
Hogsmellgood

Just for clarification purposes, Mr. Sweeney...It wasn't innuendo and rumors. It is a fact that Chuck Berry is a convicted felon and when he owned his place out in Wentzville he placed strategically located cameras in the ladies restrooms.

Suegcole
Suegcole

Same year HE was released.

Mike
Mike

" We can't jump. We can't run fast. We have no rhythm. We can't be NBA players."

....So hard being white. Cry me a river, man.

anonymous
anonymous

"The white middle class American male is the most trampled on individual in the world as far as racism"

make sure to take this guy seriously!

statues of psychopaths like columbus and jefferson are everywhere, but we can't honor chuck berry because he has a criminal record? fuck outta here. oh, and if the hun isn't a vegan, he can shut the fuck up about bullfighting

Clancy
Clancy

I look forward to seeing the statue in the Loop!

Hogsmellgood
Hogsmellgood

Only what the white community is told by the black community. And Chuck Berry is still a convicted felon. Cry me a river, man.

Hogsmellgood
Hogsmellgood

You can shove the statue of the pervert up your kazoo sideways and ride it whenever you want Percival.

Gillooly
Gillooly

Just for clarification purposes, Clancy: it is a fact that no one has ever seen you set foot outside of St Charles County, and last week your tape deck ate your Richard Marx cassingle.

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