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There have been an untold number of Black men and women across the years throughout Allegheny County who stood up and spoke out against mistreatment, but what happened? Where are they?

I could name a number of those people, but in all probability I would miss too many of those who deserve to be mentioned. They came from every walk of life, professional, academic, fraternities, sororities, religious leaders, and everyday people. An untold number of Black people were introduced to speaking out about discriminatory acts during the days of the 1960s but there were always those who stood tall.

As I reflect when I was a teenager there was a Black youth a couple of years older than me who was the first person that I knew personally to speak out and challenge the system, his name was Charles Kindle. Charlie was bright, outspoken, and knowledgeable and above all he proved over the years to be as committed to Blackness as any man or woman that ever lived. In those years going to the local theater was an every Saturday event, and we would cheer for the White soldiers to defeat the Indians, and for Tarzan to continue to be the White king in Africa. However Charles Kindle would admonish us that we were perfect examples of being brainwashed by White folks in the 1940s. It is almost like it was yesterday, as Charlie would take us to task by declaring you are cheering for White folks to take the Indians’ land, when they are our brothers. Then he would say how in the hell could you accept one White man, swinging through trees talking with the animals and being worshiped or feared by thousands of Africans? Yes, he was ahead of his time.

As we grew to manhood Charlie was one of those totally devoted to being an active member of the Pittsburgh NAACP, and he died after many years of dedicated service as an active member. Still the question remains, what happened to the Black voices of protest? Allow me to answer.

1. Integration, too many of us got caught up believing that our new positions which allowed us to leave the old neighborhood and move out deceived themselves into believing that they were no longer one of us, until they got downsized, laid off.

2. A number of preachers—not pastors, not men or women of God—but people, who obtained a 501-C3 got hooked on government grants and thereby were forced to forfeit their right to question the system for fear of not receiving a grant next year.

3. Political appointees who need their jobs to maintain their lifestyle are compelled to preach and advocate the party line knowing full well that are projecting lies that will continue to impede the progress of Blacks in every walk of life.

I have always maintained that the absolute freedom of Black people does not lie in the hands of foundations or other well-meaning rich people, but in the hearts, souls and minds of committed Black men and women. For example there were those of us who felt compelled to go to Washington, D.C. and gladly accepted money from people who demonstrate everyday through their actions or inactions that they are no friends of the Black communities.

We would do well to walk downtown and attend the board meetings of all of the governmental bodies in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County. We should attend council meetings, the URA, Allegheny and Pittsburgh Housing Authorities, Economic development, Community College of Allegheny County, Pittsburgh Parking Authority and Pittsburgh Water Authority, Alcosan, and the Port Authority. These bodies of government spend billions of dollars of taxpayer monies, and it is long overdue for Black people to begin to monitor how our money is being spent. Who knows it might result into another federal investigation?

Be sure to send a financial donation to Kingsley Association.

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


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