Leaders come in categories elected, appointed, anointed, self anointed, professional, persons that are anointed by White folks, preachers and those the media select to provide with coverage.
In my personal opinion the two most powerful leaders in the history of United States were Congressman Rev. Adam Clayton Powell Jr. and attorney and Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. On a local level it was Mal Goode. In the hearts and minds of these three Black giants there was never any hesitation or confusion about their role in bettering the lives of Black people.
These three were the epitome of true Black leadership. They took great personal life threatening risks by openly and boldly challenging racism, bigotry, and discrimination at every level.
However a frequently asked question in 2016 is what has happened to Black leadership?
An overwhelming number of persons including myself cry out regularly in disgust, anger, disappointment and disillusion, because there is a definite absence of genuine Black leaders.
We must not lose faith no matter how bad the situation may be, I truly believe that there exists a number of Black men and women in 2016 who will rise up, act up and most importantly speak up and out.
The question asked most frequently is who is an authentic Black leader, how do they become Black leaders? Are they a creation of their experiences, input of their parents, advanced education, motivated by an influential person? It is my absolute conviction that the most overwhelming factor that drives a Black leader is a deep inner sense of commitment.
As I am writing this column I am listening to Chris Moore on KDKA and a caller, who is totally confused about what constitutes a Black leader.
The caller stated incorrectly that men like Malcolm X and Farrakhan were not Black leaders, because all they ever did was talk. The uninformed caller helped me with my conclusion to this week’s column.
The great Black leaders male and female all had a common denominator. They were talkers who exposed the inequities of a White society at great risk and many of them paid the ultimate price.
On the local level we are blessed to have a Black female leader, the President of the Pittsburgh NAACP, Constance Parker, who has no hesitation or reservation about exposing those who are our enemies. Connie, who has survived three strokes when told she should slow down, responds by saying, “When God wants me to he will inform me.”
Constance Parker has a sense of conviction and commitment that equals that of any former President of the NAACP.
In my personal life on many occasions I have been asked how do I get the nerve to write and say some of the things that I say? Our church, because of the marathon, had church on Saturday and we closed with an old hymn that I was raised singing and that hymn is my answer. “I am free, I am free, Hallelujah, I am free.” I don’t owe the descendants of old slave master anything. Do you?
(Louis “Hop” Kendrick is a contributor to the New Pittsburgh Courier.)
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