This week’s column is the result of the tremendous coverage of the alleged incidents at Penn State University. The incidents were horrific because they involved a number of children. The news media across the nation have focused on it. Governor Corbett, religious groups, concerned people and the police use the word immoral. I agree wholeheartedly that those who sought to cover up these terrible acts committed—if not illegal acts—they were immoral acts.
I listened intently to a talk show host, who hour after hour discussed the immoral part and if you were not aware of the history of this nation you would be inclined to believe that immoral acts were new to this nation. The acts of violence perpetrated by Christopher Columbus against the inhabitants of the new world were immoral. The American Indians were given blankets by government officials that were infected with Small Pox. That was immoral. Slavery was legal but it definitely was immoral, as was lynching and castration. If a slave was caught learning to read or write it was punishable by death. That definitely was immoral. It was immoral when Blacks were compelled to attend one-room schools and had to walk miles while their White counterparts attended modern school buildings and rode buses. It was immoral when Black men in the state of Alabama were injected with Syphilis.
In my lifetime I can remember an untold number of immoral acts in Allegheny County. There were no Black teachers, janitors, and bus or streetcar drivers. We were forced to file suit in federal court to increase the number of Black police officers. How many of you can recollect how Blacks were treated at the amusement parks, denied access to swimming pools, roller skating rinks, downtown hotels and could not even eat at Murphy’s lunch counter?
A federal lawsuit was filed to ensure that Black voters would have the opportunity to elect at least two Black council people. Blacks were unable to get a mortgage; if they could there was red lining. Segregation existed when you sought to be buried in certain cemetery plots. Yes immorality followed you to the gravesite.
It was immoral when the media would not hire you solely because you were Black. Blacks were denied admittance to White universities and were forced to sit in the balconies of local theaters.
In the year 2011 ride or walk by major construction jobs in East liberty and Homewood and see how few if any Black men are working. The Allegheny County Police Department is almost totally White.
I am convinced that the epitome of immorality occurs when the Black man is unfairly denied an opportunity to a decent job that will enable him to be a stable factor in the home.
Yes we have been the recipients of immoral acts ever since we were brought to these shores.
Please remember Kingsley association.
(Louis “Hop” Kendrick is a weekly contributor to the Forum Page.)