Two weeks ago I wrote a column suggesting that the five elected Black officials should exercise their influence with Congressman Doyle by recommending he debate his current opponent. I assumed that the congressman subscribes to the New Pittsburgh Courier and that he would respond. It was surprising but not shocking that the response came from the spokesperson for the five Black officials, Pittsburgh City Councilman, Rev. Ricky Burgess. It was surprising because I wanted to believe that in 2016 those we elected had outgrown the mentality of “Boss allow me to respond.” It is unbelievable that there still exists those of us who accept the fact of Blacks opposing other Blacks, but absolutely are not willing to accept the established fact that Blacks also have the absolute right to oppose White candidates.
The response was essentially the same response echoed in 1970 when Attorney Byrd R. Brown ran for the U.S. Congress against a White incumbent. The argument was the present Congressman was a liberal, who had some genuine concerns about the problems that affect the lives of Black constituents. Those concerns were unemployment, underemployment, inadequate housing, and overall discriminatory hiring practices. The congressional district was the 14th and it included the largest number of Black voters in western Pennsylvania.