Yes, we celebrated my birthday last Saturday in Cincinnati, Ohio with our granddaughter and her husband and our four wonderful great-grandchildren. On the way to Ohio I reflected on how wonderful the years have been. There were many times that my friends and associates would say to me, “Hop you won’t make 21, because you have too much to say, even if you are right.”

In the early years of my life I was compelled to speak out against injustices, but it was just natural for me. In the year of 1949 at the age of 17 I embarked upon a lifetime journey of commitment that hopefully would improve the quality of life not just for me and mine, but have a positive effect on the Black communities. It has not always been an easy or a pleasant journey, but a positive Christian God fearing Daddy and Mama had prepared me well.

My first time away from home was when I was drafted into the army where I encountered all kinds of problems, large, small, racial, dangerous, and life threatening. Yes it became a process of growing up faster than I expected. There were all different kind of soldiers, Whites, “colored”, Hispanics, Chinese, Africans, Puerto Ricans, Mexicans, Cubans, Indians and the tragedy was that all of them saw themselves as better than those of us who were colored. There were constant fights, sometimes physical or overwhelmingly verbal, but I had sharpened my verbal skills and it became almost funny some times. They nicknamed me calling me Lt. Smart Alex, troublemaker, but most addressed me as “Hop”.

My personal life has truly prepared me to understand the overwhelming importance of a strong family structure, where daddy is able to provide for his family. An overwhelming number of mothers have had to perform the multi-purpose task of mother, father, breadwinner, cook, seamstress, laundress, and other duties. A large number of mothers have done well, but time is long overdue to rebuild and restore the family.

For too long we have elected persons who look like us, but don’t serve us well. I have continually written about the unbelievable amounts of government money being spent across Allegheny County and particularly in Pittsburgh and Blacks—not minorities—are almost completely shut out. Every now and then a colored person will appear and quote some statistics stating that on this last construction project minorities were 12 percent.

Who are the 12 percent and what are their company names?

(Louis “Hop” Kendrick is a contributor to the New Pittsburgh Courier.)


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