Over the course of my life, I have been active in both the Republican and Democratic parties. A clear conscience allows me to state that I have always had a greater concern about improving the conditions of Black people than I did about the advancement of a political party.
In my years of political involvement, I was able to get to know all of the Black chairpersons, unbelievable numbers of committee persons and most elected officials from councilpersons up to governors.
I have interviewed Black officials, who would look me directly in my eyes and say, “My loyalty is to the Democratic Party first and foremost, the voters are second.” I respected the late Dock Fielder Jr. more than the combined total. Why? Dock was a man of principle, man of his word and truthful. He was truly a man of strength. I was in attendance with Dock as he met with numerous politicians and listened to his responses to mayors, District Attorneys, County Commissioners, governors, it was always about you and I.
In the election of 1996 when the Republicans took control of Allegheny County for the first time in 60 years, as the 12th Ward Democratic Chairman he led the fight to defeat the Democratic candidates who had made the statement, “HE DID NOT NEED THE BLACK VOTE TO WIN.” Over the last 60 or more years I have witnessed the undying loyalty to endorsed Democrats by Black voters and how it affects Blacks, even in the year 2018. Attorney Byrd R. Brown, the most qualified candidate to ever run for political office in Allegheny County, was a dedicated Democrat who advocated always to vote straight, and it came back to help defeat him when he ran for mayor of Pittsburgh.
A number of influential Black Democrats used the excuse that Byrd’s wife was White, but so was Sophie. The truth of the matter was that these Blacks had been totally indoctrinated. It is understandable with Blacks being denied access to the American Dream, lack of affordable houses, high rate of unemployment, denial of contracts, high rate of incarceration that they are reluctant voters, but it is imperative that we vote every election. We must become smarter and more sophisticated voters and pick and choose who we cast our votes for—male and/or female, White and/or Black. If they are currently elected, we must analyze their record…have they been able to address any of the problems they campaign on, and if not, why not? It is imperative that we elect persons who not only talk that talk but have proven that they walk that walk. We must vote for a candidate who has proven when provided with the opportunity to hold elected office that the people are his priority. I have no reservations about supporting the mayor of Braddock, John Fetterman, for Lt. Governor.
(Louis “Hop” Kendrick is a contributor to the New Pittsburgh Courier.)
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