LOUIS ‘HOP’ KENDRICK
I have been greatly concerned for a long period of time about how we Blacks here are so reluctant, scared or just too cowardly to challenge those people who clearly demonstrate on an ongoing basis that they don’t give a damm about improving the conditions of Blacks throughout Allegheny County.
In the last couple of weeks, as I have driven down Lincoln Avenue, I’ve seen a paving contractor paving all of the side streets through a neighborhood with an astronomical unemployment rate, but I have witnessed not one Black male or female working. The only blackness is the asphalt. It is apparent that those people Downtown who awarded the contract and those who receive the contracts lack the sensitivity or concern to hire those in the neighborhood. However, I vividly remember that period of time the paving would have been stopped by us, the people.
Do you remember the years when we were openly treated like second-class citizens? Then the ‘60s were upon us and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who was not the movement but became the face of the movement, led us onward and we marched, demonstrated, sang, chanted, picketed and practiced turning the other cheek. Yes, we adhered to Gandhi’s philosophy of non-violence. There now began a period of time that there were some positive accomplishments across the nation, Blacks were elected to political positions from the Deep South to New York. We became CEOs of major corporations, police chiefs, sheriffs, district attorneys, coaches, managers, and scouts. We won construction contracts and professional service contracts. Now there were untold numbers of people, who could sing George Jefferson’s song, “Moving on up”.
However, we were not prepared for a major stumbling block that we had no idea how detrimental it could be, that stumbling block was integration. Blacks who perceived themselves as doing good, now moved, newfound neighbors and friends no longer looked like their parents, and too many forgot how they were able to leave the hood and began to refer to their former neighbors as those people. They changed their churches. They were no longer Methodist, Church of God, Baptist or other denominations. You know where they go now.
We all have heard “the more things change the more things remain the same”. It is so true; let us just look at our current situations. Allegheny County and Pittsburgh police Department are almost as White as the KKK. MBE/WBE DBE programs are almost nonexistent, funding for projects for Black developers by URA are invisible and contracts with totally unbelievable amounts of money are never awarded to Blacks. I have in my possession copies of 100 professional service contracts that have been awarded and not one Black or female were awarded any.