LOUIS ‘HOP’ KENDRICK
For a number of years there has been a description of Pittsburgh that was not flattering; Pittsburgh was called the “Largest City up South.”
The time is long overdue for Black voters in particular throughout Allegheny County to open their minds and withhold their votes. The benefits of government have overwhelmingly been denied Black citizens, and we have been the most loyal bloc of voters since 1936. Blacks have been insulted, disrespected and the party leadership has clearly demonstrated they could care less about us. Whatever advances we have achieved have generally been because we marched, picketed, boycotted, or were civil disobedient and the federal courts helped.
How many of you remember when Blacks had to sue to swim in public pools and at Kennywood Park. We weren’t allowed to skate at skating rinks, to become police officers, drive streetcars and buses and a list of other “not allowed.”
I have frequently been asked the question are Blacks in Pittsburgh the most docile in America? Why do we travel to other cities to protest the mistreatment of Blacks, but fail to demonstrate the same concern about the mistreatment of Blacks here where we live? Is it because a number of Black organizations are afraid they may forfeit future grants? The churches in particular, are they afraid that there is an unwritten clause that if they challenge the local government there will not be any future grants? They must remember that cowards can’t build the Kingdom of God.
The issue about Pittsburgh police being required to live in the city of Pittsburgh is an easy one. Allegheny County police must live in Allegheny County. State police are mandated to live in Pennsylvania and all federal agents are mandated to reside in the confines of America. The racist remarks that I have heard recently on the radio leads me to believe if the return to physical slavery was put on a referendum it would pass and we would be the property of another man once again.
Jordan Miles, a young man who lives in Pittsburgh, was beaten by Pittsburgh Police and Allegheny County Councilman Bill Robinson tried to compel Allegheny County District Attorney Zappala to be forced to bring charges. He not only did not get a second in county council but only three of us appeared in council to support councilman Robinson. But this is the “up south City of Pittsburgh” mentality.
A vigilante named Zimmerman as we all know killed a Black youth in the state of Florida, and as deplorable as it was denying a young man an opportunity to grow to manhood there are other forms of death, not just physical death. Allegheny County executive Rich Fitzgerald has the power to kill people financially by terminating their employment, denying them the ability to provide for their families, pay their mortgage, car notes, or college tuition. The power of government can strip you of your manhood, self-respect, your friends, associates, those who know you are being dogged out, but are scared to intervene, because they could be next.
I’ve listened and read the allegations against my personal friend, Attorney William “Jack” Simmons and former director of Shuman Center.
Allegheny County has been using the old tactic that the best defense is an overwhelming offense. If you did not know better you would believe the fabrications. Some have said to me that “Jack has not responded, so we don’t know what to believe,” but I have assured them that Jack will be responding.
There is an organization preparing to convene a rally for Attorney Simmons and the general public will be extended an invitation, even those who are intimidated will be able to attend.
One aspect of the irony in the termination of Attorney Jack Simmons is that a few weeks ago Executive Fitzgerald was on the front page of the longest running Black newspaper locally, the New Pittsburgh Courier, proclaiming his interest and concern about the Rooney Rule.
(Louis “Hop” Kendrick is a weekly contributor to the Forum page.)
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