The three police officers that were involved in the Jordan Miles situation used excessive force in my conviction, but all received awards for their police activities.
I heard complaints galore about the gall, nerve, insensitivity, and bigoted attitude of those involved in the awards. However, I need to remind everyone that awards are not only trophies, plaques and commendations. Our communities have rewarded and awarded those who did not deserve any positive recognition with one of our most precious tools, and that is our vote since 1936.
The time is long overdue for us to analyze some of our mistakes that have proven to be contributing factors to the devastation in our communities. We have allowed ourselves to be in situations where we have blindly voted for individuals throughout Allegheny County who have proven not to be friends of Blacks.
I remember as vividly as if it was yesterday the 9th District in the 3rd Ward was 75 percent Black and we overwhelmingly reelected a White chairman who not only barely spoke English, but did not even live in the ward. And his opponent was a Black resident.
We awarded our votes to those who disrespected us as a people and would not allow Blacks to work on political jobs, except to clean sewers, carry garbage and sweep streets. They were all honest jobs, but menial. Blacks were denied political jobs such as building guards, jail guards, county police, and assistant district attorneys. The Pittsburgh police had a limited number of Black police who washed the station walls. There were no sergeants or lieutenants and we dared not even dream of an inspector, but on Election Day we awarded the same politicians another victory.
I remember a colored committeeman introduced the Allegheny County Sheriff to an all-colored audience by saying, “Sheriff Coon these are your coons” and the colored people were not offended, they just laughed. When I protested, I was asked to leave, and I did.
Black voters in Pittsburgh have rewarded the Democratic Party by voting a straight ticket for 75 years and we have only had one Black cabinet person and he was appointed in 2009.
Black Attorney Byrd R. Brown was the most qualified individual to ever run for political office in Pittsburgh and when he ran for Congress and mayor the controlled Black wards rewarded the political party once again by voting for the party’s candidate.
The time is now to become so angry with ourselves. We will rise up as a people and begin to make the kind of positive changes that we can begin to reward ourselves for a job well done.
I made a mistake in my column about my trip to Chicago where the Nation of Islam observed their 84th anniversary, because the correct spelling of the momentous occasion is SAVIOURS’ DAY 2010.
Please remember Kingsley Association.
(Louis “Hop” Kendrick is a weekly contributor to the Forum Page.)