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Over the last 10 years I have advocated that you and I support the Kingsley Association; a number of people have asked me why so this week I will provide you with an answer.

At the corner of East liberty Boulevard, Frankstown Avenue and Paulson Avenue in the early 1970’s there were a number of vacant and decaying buildings. The city of Pittsburgh eventually hired demolition companies to clear the site. In the middle 1970s the Kingsley House, which was located in the Larimer section, was closing down. Two Black men with vision, Judge Edward Tibbs and 12th ward chairman Dock Fielder, were compelled to contemplate the building of a brand new community center on the vacant site. They eventually recruited then Pa. State Rep. Joseph Preston and current director of Kingsley, Malik Bankston to join forces to build a modern facility on the vacant site. The site remained vacant for 20 years as roadblock after roadblock surfaced, but in the year of 2002 under the leadership of Malik Bankston a ground breaking of a $9 million facility took place.

Malik was demanding and innovative; under his guidance a local Black contractor was awarded the contract and at that time it was largest contract ever awarded to a Black corporation in the state of Pennsylvania. Malik also demanded that every Black sub contractor would be provided with an opportunity to share in the building of the new Kingsley Association. He also has sacrificed his money, time and effort to provide our children with an opportunity to travel on the Black College Tour for more than 20 years.

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