Over the last 40 years, I have engaged in conversations where people would constantly vilify Pittsburgh Blacks and their lack of positive movement. They would say, “We are the most backward people in the nation.”


I was always able to defend us by explaining that since we live here we don’t recognize that Blacks across the country have problems, and some much worse than ours. However, I have been compelled lately to reappraise my feelings.

In several meetings there were people who currently live in Pittsburgh, but have lived across this country, north, south, east and west and they compared this city with cities they have lived and worked in. As they reflected on some of the accomplishments among Blacks from Greenville, Miss., to Portland, Ore., it really gave me food for thought about how critical our situations are in Pittsburgh. In fact, let’s analyze the status of Blacks in Pittsburgh.

All of us know how deplorable the political situation is: there has never been a Black mayor, state senator, congressman or a Black president of Pittsburgh City Council (Louis Mason resigned).

The Hill District and Homewood don’t have a business district or a grocery store. It’s been more than 30 years for the Hill District, and both areas have an unbelievable number of vacant lots, unemployment and all of the problems that emanate from chronic unemployment.

There is an unbelievable vacuum of leadership. Do you remember when we could rally vast numbers of people to address the inequities in the system?

There was a time when a Black was killed, there was a coroner’s inquest and the possibility existed that we get justice, but ever since the Allegheny County district attorney took that responsibility it has become Jesse James judging Frank James.

The Pittsburgh Police Department becomes Whiter and Whiter and there is no ongoing outcry about the police force looking more and more like the KKK.

Ask yourself, when was the last time you received an invitation to attend a political affair for a Black man or woman who was not running against another Black?

A positive change will only occur when Blacks can put their exaggerated ego on the shelf and begin to replace I with We.

Please remember Kingsley Association needs your financial assistance.

(Louis “Hop” Kendrick is a weekly contributor to the Forum Page.)

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