On Nov. 7, there is an election being held. You don’t have to own property, be gainfully employed, a college graduate, live in an affluent community or be a member of a certain race. However, you must be registered and have a commitment to exercise your obligation to vote.
There was a time when Blacks could not vote, could not even register to vote. However, there were some of our forefathers who put their lives on the line to change the deplorable conditions. Time moves on as Blacks begin to register and vote in astronomical numbers, and we were able to elect Blacks to every political position, from committee persons to the president of the United States. Regretfully, we as Black citizens have ceased going to the polls in record numbers across this nation. However, my primary concern is about the low percentage of the Black turnout where we live, primarily Allegheny County.
I will always remember when I first took an active interest in local politics; the situation that I encountered was almost as deplorable as the political situation in the deep South, Mississippi and Alabama. Eventually, Pittsburgh became known as being UPSOUTH. As I became involved in conjunction with a small number of others, all are now deceased, we were determined to improve the political situation. It was extremely difficult, because an unbelievable number of coloreds (not Black yet) truly believed that White was right.
The first political victory in my life was the election of a Black man being elected to the position of Democrat Committeeman in the Third Ward, Ninth District (Lower Hill). Some persons may ask, “How was that election so important?” The White Committeeman whom the Black man defeated was recognized by the Allegheny County Democratic Party as the number one vote-getter in the entire Democratic Party.
The same Black man had run in the previous elections, and the district was overwhelmingly Black (85 percent) and the White candidate had beaten him decisively, both elections. The third election, there were those of us who were registered and active Republicans, who took an integral role in the Black Democrat’s campaign and we were victorious. How did we win, what did we do different the third campaign? We ran a campaign all summer and it was a campaign that completely focused on SELF PRIDE. We had an untold number of small mirrors made and they were inscribed with, “On Election Day vote for the person that looks like the one you see in the mirror.”
We were VICTORIOUS.
In that period of time we were forced to use color of skin, but next month’s election, we can go the extra mile. There is a Black man campaigning for a judgeship on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. His name is Judge Dwayne Woodruff. We must vote for him, he is capable, concerned, committed.
Be sure you cast your votes for the man in the mirror.
(Louis “Hop” Kendrick is a contributor to the New Pittsburgh Courier.)
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