I received a phone call from a respected friend of mine, Malik Bankston. He had a sense of excitement in his voice as he said, “You must go see James Baldwin’s ‘I am Not Your Negro.’”
A week went by and he called me a second time asking me how I felt about the movie. I explained that I had been busy, but I was going the next day, and my wife and I did go. The movie was all that Malik had stated it was and I recommended it to a number of persons. James Baldwin once again did an excellent analysis of America. He demonstrated the divisions that still exist in America, not just Black and white, but the haves and have nots.
The movie opened with Baldwin living in Paris, and he was remarking that the time had come for him to cease writing about the civil rights movement in America, and to return home and become an active participant. As I watched the movie, it brought back memories of those who stood in the ranks of the civil rights movement. Of course there were an untold number of men and women that are deserving of recognition who must go nameless, but we know who they were. A vast number of persons, for whatever reason, were not photographed, but once again we know who you are.
However, at the height of the civil rights movement, there arose THREE GIANTS, who symbolized all of us; the known and the unknowns. All three are physically deceased, but their contributions will never die. All three had identically the same common denominators; young Black men, commitment, dedication, and one of the most significant – no ties to any political party in the present or the past. The lack of political involvement meant that they never were involved in tainted actions against Black people because of their demanded loyalty to the political party.
Who were the three giants? Malcolm X, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and Medgar Evers (all in their 30s). Those of us who live in Pittsburgh, particularly the voters who live in the fourth district, have a golden opportunity to ensure that history repeats itself.
Another young Black man in the mold of the above three is running for the Pittsburgh school board seat in district 4, the position being vacated by the retirement of Mr. Thomas Sumpter. Like Malcolm, Martin, and Medgar, the board candidate’s name ironically has a “M.” His full name is James Meyers Jr. He’s in his 30s, educated in Pittsburgh, and has demonstrated through the course of his young life a true sense of commitment, courage, conviction and no political debt to any political party.
I have never supported any candidate based on age, gender and definitely not alleged experience. It is my absolute conviction that there comes a time in our lives, yours and mine, that if we are really concerned about the Pittsburgh school board problems, then we should take a back seat and assume an advisory position instead of seeking a seat at the table.
History is replete with a multitude of youthful persons without any prior experiences who were successful.
If you are familiar with the Bible, you know Jesus Christ, the Messiah, was youthful, and of course you recall that God took two young men; Moses, who had problems with speech, and David, who was the shepherd of sheep. And he became King David.
(Louis “Hop” Kendrick is a contributor to the New Pittsburgh Courier.)
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