In the city of Pittsburgh too many people—Black and White alike—too frequently refer to a number of Black people as leaders. Tragically in the “Up South City of Pittsburgh” true Black leaders are almost as rare as a dinosaur. There has been a number of Blacks, male and female who qualified as leaders, but most of them have died. A true Black leader demonstrates by precept and example, they stand up, speak out and generally are well prepared when meetings are called with the power brokers, whether they are corporate or political leaders.

Over the years I have been privileged to have known a number of Black men and women personally, who epitomize a definition of leader. A couple of weeks ago a group of Black people met with Allegheny County executive Rich Fitzgerald, who stated to them that 34 percent of all contracts in Allegheny County had been awarded to Blacks; no one questioned it, why? He was incorrect when he stated the number of White Allegheny County police was 95 percent, but in reality it is 98 percent. The newspaper reporter who covered the meeting stated there were about 10 Black leaders in attendance; Black leaders do research before meeting with politicians.

We must be extremely careful when we cast people as leaders, for example I have met and spoke to an untold numbers of people, who clearly state they are limited in what they are able to do, because they need their job, family, house note, car note, etc. I am not angry with these people who recognize their limitations, but I get furious with those who occupy positions in government or the corporate world, making a good salary with impressive titles who fool themselves that they truly deserve being portrayed as a leader.

I was invited to a meeting a couple of months ago and there were people in attendance from as far away as Oregon and they were asking the question what is wrong with Blacks in Pittsburgh and where is the leadership? My response was brief—almost non-existing.

As you read this week’s column ask yourself what happened to Black leadership in Pittsburgh? There was period of time that there were Black religious leaders and political leaders in Allegheny County and the city of Pittsburgh, what happened to us?
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(Louis “Hop” Kendrick is a weekly contributor to the Forum page.)



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