I will vote Nov. 8 because I absolutely refuse to be a non-voter.
I will vote for Judge David Wecht for the Superior Court of Pennsylvania, Rich Fitzgerald for Allegheny County chief executive, Chelsea Wagner for Allegheny County controller and the tax increase that will benefit the Carnegie library. This will be the absolute last election that I will participate in unless the candidates reflect the person that I see in the mirror.
For example, if Michael Lamb is a candidate for the mayor of Pittsburgh then I am advocating that William “Bill” Robinson be the candidate for the Pittsburgh city controller. If you take time and read the history of Black Americans you will uncover the historical fact that between the years of 1870 and 1887 there were 17 Black men elected to the U.S. Congress (all southerners). In the history of Allegheny County only two Black people ever ran for the U.S. Congress Algia Gary [Rep.] and Byrd R. Brown [Dem.] There have only been two Black men in Allegheny County to run for the Pennsylvania State Senate, Attorney Cliff Cooper and insurance broker Leon W. Howard.
This column is not a criticism of the Democratic Party, who deserve to be, but a chastisement of the Black community, those who masquerade as politicians and those of us who are voters. Black citizens across Allegheny County get nothing because we don’t demand anything. In fact, White people have often said to me when I am interceding for someone else “they never said a word to me.” Ask yourself when will Blacks make the decision to stand up, speak up, speak out and put our concerns and money where it will make a positive difference?
It is troubling and distressing to me when I witness the numbers of relatively young Black males and females offering their souls to a politician hoping to receive a political job with no authority and these are people with college degrees. I frequently ask them “what was your major in college?”
It is particularly frustrating to me, because 62 years ago when I started in politics it was the same issues, no Blacks running for political offices. The efforts of others and myself were responsible for politicians injecting the word qualifications into politics. There was a campaign in the lower Hill District and we supported a Black man who had a speech impediment and the colored voters with old Massa mentality and the White people, who had all the power said, “since the brother did not speak well he was not qualified.” We almost laughed, but instead our response was the incumbent does not speak English, what qualifies him?
That was the first election that the term qualifications was ever used, but over the years it is mention every time a Black runs. I will never forget that Attorney Byrd R. Brown ran for Mayor of Pittsburgh. With his credentials he should have been running for the U.S. Senate and the local newspaper said they could not endorse him, because he was not qualified.
I hope when you go to the polls Nov. 8 please take note that none of the candidates look like you, and pledge that you will help change it.
Kingsley needs your financial support.
(Louis “Hop” Kendrick is a weekly contributor to the Forum Page.)