Long before Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., my father had instilled in our family that context of character was more important than color of skin. Over the course of my life I have been fortunate to name at least five White people—I will think of someone else later—who demonstrated to me that they were in that inclusive group of people I constantly refer to as compassionate, courageous, concerned and possessing a sense of commitment.

1. Dr. Cyril Wecht: We met as boys in the 1940’s at Fifth Avenue High School and our friendship grew over the years. Cyril demonstrated very early in his sensational career that he cared about people. As a college student he was a soldier with the great A. Phillip Randolph, before Dr. King connected with Randolph. His tenure in political office, particularly his hiring policy as it related to Blacks has never been matched nor has the percentage of Black votes earned in every campaign that he was engaged. Yes he’s my GUY.

2. Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Lester G. Nauhaus: I was employed with the city of Pittsburgh and was an extremely active supporter for Attorney Byrd R. Brown for mayor, and it resulted in my termination. A couple of months later I received a notification of an investigative position with the Allegheny County Public Defender’s office. The director was Lester G. Nauhaus and that became the beginning of our relationship. On many occasions we would have discussions about all the issues that were transpiring in Allegheny County. His tenure as director prepared him to be the compassioned concerned judge that he is, because the clients that our office served were people who had no financial ability and frequently were troubled by being confronted with the district attorney and police, and that can be fearful to say the least. I have sat in his courtroom as he presided over numerous trials, and witnessed his skills and he was always in control of his courtroom, not the district attorney. I recall his most recent retention election and the FOP opposed him, but he was retained overwhelmingly. Judge Nauhaus understands the difference between justice, mercy and adequate punishment.

3. Allegheny County Commissioner Larry Dunn: In November 1996 an election occurred and Blacks in Allegheny County punished the Democratic Party and for the first time in 62 years, two Republicans, Larry Dunn and Bob Cramner were the majority commissioners. I recall as it was yesterday, Larry Dunn called 15 department heads to the conference room and stated to them that when “Hop” calls your office he is our voice. In a book that I am writing, I will go into details about the historic and significant accomplishments that benefitted Black people across Allegheny County because Larry Dunn stood up to people and said Blacks will share in these contracts or you will not share at all.

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