I was born in the Hill District and it was a melting pot. The citizenship consisted of coloreds, Jews, Italians and Syrians and that was reflected in the makeup of the student body at Fifth Avenue High School. The immediate neighborhood was overwhelmingly Jewish and there was a relationship between some of us that lasted a lifetime.
For example, a number of us met a young Jewish individual who played on the football team with us. He was an accomplished violinist, outspoken and an extremely bright high honor student. Cyril H. Wecht was his name and none of us who knew him were surprised that he would be successful in any career of his choosing. Cyril demonstrated in his early college life that he believed in equality by becoming involved in the civil rights movement under the leadership of the legendary A. Phillip Randolph.
Cyril’s political career began with his election to the position of Allegheny County Coroner and under his leadership over the years it became one of the most credible in the nation.
The most amazing statistic was that he had the highest percentage of Black employees throughout Allegheny County. It is my personal belief and the belief of most people that his concern about justice, and commitment to equality and justice, resulted into his indictment in the federal courts.
Under the system in the coroner’s office the people and particularly Blacks could anticipate justice, because the current system is totally dependent on police testifying for or against each other, that is the same as Jesse James testifying against Frank James.
Cyril H. Wecht, MD, JD will be missed by the overall public, a man among men.
Please remember Kingsley Association.
(Louis “Hop” Kendrick is a weekly contributor to the Forum Page.)