Friends, Fans Honor Don Cornelius
TV legend died last week of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound
The creator of Soul Train was truly a Chicago original. Fans and friends of Don Cornelius gathered at the Museum of Broadcast Communications Wednesday night to pay tribute to his life and work. (Published Wednesday, Feb 8, 2012)
Wednesday, Feb 8, 2012 Updated at 11:15 PM CST
"Soul Train" fans gathered Wednesday night to wish the groundbreaking TV show’s creator “love, peace and soul” one last time.
"I want everybody, when they go to Memphis, Tennessee, or when they go to California, and when they get on the train, I want you to think of the Soul Train," said Marshall Thompson, who credits the show with giving him and his group, the Chi-Lites, their first national platform.
Thomas was among the family, friends and fans who came together at the Museum of Broadcast Communications, at 360 N. State, for a public memorial for Don Cornelius. The Rev. Jesse Jackson and radio legend Herb Kent were also in attendance.
Cornelius, 75, died last week of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his upper torso at his Mulholland Drive home, according to Los Angeles police.
Many of those gathered said Cornelius didn't just entertain. He changed lives.
"I like seeing people on TV that look like myself, so therefore it did a lot for me. It raised my self-esteem and let me know that it was OK to have hair like I had," said Denise Allums.
Cornelius grew up in Chicago's Bronzeville neighborhood and graduated from DuSable High School.
The Wednesday tribute was broadcast live on WVON 1690AM. Cornelius worked there before launching the popular music-and-dance show.