ALTON - When one reflects on the history of Alton, the Fourth Ward has always had devoted leadership. Some of the list of aldermen and alderwomen in the ward includes Fred Young, Bill Keller, Alice Martin, Keith Stampley, Albert Charleston, Tammy Smith, and present alderwoman Rosetta Brown.
Young was a long-standing Fourth Ward alderman and looked out for the Alton community for more than two decades. Young is a U.S. Naval vet and recipient of the U.S. National Defense Medal and Expedition Medal. He attended Lewis and Clark Community College and had a long career with Illinois Bell/Ameritech Telephone Company.
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Fred was heavily involved in the Coalition of Concerned Citizens and was a past chair of the Madison County Urban League, a commander of the Allen Bevenue America Legion Post, and a charter member of the 100 Black Men of Alton. During the summer months, it was not uncommon to find then-Alderman Young on top of a 1953 Ferguson Tractor Lawnmower in one of the grassy areas of the Fourth Ward. Young purchased the 1953 Ferguson in 1989 and mowed areas for many years. Fred's vast contributions to Alton will never be forgotten.
"I am deeply grateful for my family, the time living in and serving the Alton community and the opportunity to. meet and interact with so many wonderful people," Young once said.
Brown said Fred and the others inspired her to want to be an alderwoman.
"Fred was out there among the people and stayed abreast of policies and procedures that were in place to make changes to better the city," she explained.
Bill Keller was also a long-standing alderman and did "a lot of great things for the City of Alton," Brown said.
"Bill's family were business owners in the city," she said. "He was just a great man."
Alice Martin's contributions with her husband, Doug, were endless to the City of Alton and during her time as an alderwoman of the Fourth Ward, Brown said.
"Alice's contributions will never be forgotten," Brown added. "She and her husband Doug made their way throughout the Fourth Ward checking on people and making sure everything was OK. She listened to the people and completed their requests."
Keith Stampley, another one of the listed aldermen of the Fourth Ward, also logged immense contributions to the city, Brown said.
"He was very much involved and a big family man," she said. "He owned a lot of real estate in our city and took a lot of pride in Alton."
Albert Charleston served as a City of Alton comptroller and also a Fourth Ward alderman.
"He was very knowledgable of policies and procedures and loved the Fourth Ward," Brown said. "He made many visits to people in the ward and kept a great rapport."
Tammy Smith may be most known for her work with the Precious Sickle Cell Foundation, which has made immense contributions to that cause, but she also served as an alderwoman, Brown said.
"Tammy has always had a heart for the people."
Rosie said as an alderwoman, she wants to carry on the title and be a voice and ear for the people to make sure their concerns are heard.
"I believe I want to say the Fourth Ward aldermen and alderwomen have exemplified the qualities needed to help and lead the people and represent the people," she said. "That is why I want to salute them all for their role in black history and history overall in Alton. If it wasn't for them, there wouldn't be a way now. I want to continue to serve and carry the torch to make it happen for them and every resident. I love being an alderwoman in the Fourth Ward."
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