Friday I was a guest at Imani School where the excellent documentary of Nate Smith’s life was shown.
The documentary included those who sat at the table with Nate and also those of us unnamed who filled the streets.
At the conclusion my concern was whether the youth and adults understand that the birth of the Pittsburgh Plan proved to be a stopgap not a permanent solution.
Those were the days when we marched, picketed, prayed, sang, chanted, boycotted and were able to get the attention from Grant Street to Washington, D.C.
I’ve read and heard statistics that indicated more than 1,700 Black men and women were accepted into the apprentice programs. If that is accurate what happen to them? Where are they? They definitely are not reflected in the current makeup of the unions in 2011.
How many buildings under construction do you pass and fail to see any Black faces? I attended a meeting where the union leaders were present, and when the question arose, can you provide the community with racial breakdown of the individual union they refused, using the flawed argument it’s confidential.
One major White contractor when asked why they have not hired any Black subs answered very directly, “Black corporations and nonprofits have never said to us you are accepting our money and you MUST HIRE BLACK SUBS. If they make that demand since it is their money we automatically comply.”
Have Blacks lost our fire? Have some Blacks assimilated to the point that they are consumed with emulating their oppressors.
Have Blacks become so dependent on grants and funds that they have sold their souls, integrity or that sense of commitment they once professed to have?
What happens next, because the funds and grants will definitely be cut, some by 50 percent?
I watched TV and read newspapers and magazines and become informed about how many cities have Black mayors, Black congress people, Black sheriffs, Black district attorneys, etc.
Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas Judge Joseph Williams exposed the double standards when it comes to sentencing between Whites and Blacks. That very important issue died because no group pursued it.
Three Pittsburgh police arrested a young gifted Black youth while going to visit his grandmother and he was beaten severely while allegedly resisting arrest. There was never an excessive force charge filed and once again we became mute.
We use to chant ain’t going to take it anymore. We use to sing we shall overcome. I reflect on those years and as I look around in 2011 and see our plight, I am compelled to ask were we just chanting and singing only because it made us feel good.
Please don’t forget the Kingsley Association.
(Louis “Hop” Kendrick is a weekly contributor to the Forum Page.)