On Jan. 4 Pittsburgh City Council was swore in and the first major order of business was to elect a council president. Councilman Bill Peduto and councilman Ricky Burgess both had four votes. Newly elected councilman Daniel Lavelle failed to vote for either and it is assumed that it was driven to a great degree, in my estimation, by his brain trust. I was informed that he absolutely refused to accept a phone call from councilman Burgess.
This proves to me that the newly elected councilman does not care or fails to recognize that Louis Mason was the last Black person to occupy the position of president of Pittsburgh Council.
Darlene Harris, immediately upon being elected, referred to the importance of a female being in charge. I am compelled to ask “What has happen to our professed Blackness?” Do you recollect “I am Black and I’m proud,” spoke in Swahili, had free names, spoke with great pride about Africa, the motherland, wore dashikis, and other symbols celebrating our heritage? Even Eric Holder, the attorney general of United States, when a request was made to pardon the great champion Jack Johnson, responded by saying, “It was in the past.” He was not concerned about the past. We must never forget what happen yesterday, because it has the potential to repeat itself.
I hear Black men and women daily saying which Blacks they don’t like, and I always asked why? They generally fail to have a valid reason. It reminds me of some of the ridiculous reasoning that Blacks used not to vote for Byrd Brown when he ran against Moorhead for congressman. A couple of colored men in the poolroom said they never saw Byrd in here. When asked if Moorhead had ever been in here they said they didn’t know him, but then said he will get their votes because he is a Democrat. But so was Byrd and it was the primary election.
Blacks across Allegheny County must look inwardly and ask where have we gone wrong, what will it take to reverse what is happening? You can’t love your neighbor unless you love yourself, you can’t respect your neighbor without self-respect.
I am convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that integration has not been as detrimental to us as a people as the fact that those who benefited from the movement the most have sold their souls to assimilation.
The young councilman has four years in front of him. It is of great importance that he represents the people, not the Democratic Party or a select few. Four years go awfully fast in politics. There will always be new challengers.
The Kingsley Association still needs your support in 2010.
(Louis “Hop” Kendrick is a weekly contributor to the Forum Page.)