The news media find young persons taking to the streets much more exciting than adults convening a thought-provoking meeting. I can recollect being active at every stage of my life, youngster, young adult, adult and senior citizen. The most impressive and memorable part of my maturing was to read about, listen to and watch the adult Black men and women challenge and change the system that sought to continue to oppress us. These Black men and women put their lives on the line, not a foundation grant.
Unbelievable numbers of coloreds (not Black yet) had any idea who these warriors were long before Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, etc., were born.
This week’s column is not a criticism of the activities of young people but more of an enlightenment of some of the major accomplishments in the Allegheny County area by local residents.
•The Pittsburgh Courier and the outstanding owners and editors maintained a national presence and a significant role through the entire civil rights movement. The late outstanding editor, Frank Bolden, once wrote, “While we all came to America in different boats, we are all in the same boat now. Therefore, let each of one grab an oar and pull together for a better America.”
•Martin Robinson Delaney, the father of Black Nationalism, published the first Black newspaper in Pittsburgh, The Mystery.
•B.B.P. Black Business & Professionals, for the first time in the history of America, met in Pittsburgh in the year 1936.
The first Black church in Pittsburgh, Mother Bethel AME, convened a meeting of colored freed men for the sole purpose of improving our overall conditions in 1936.
•Cumberland Posey, owner of the Diamond and Coke Company, and Homestead Grays, employed more than 1,000 persons.
•Mary Caldwell Dawson founded the National Colored Opera in Pittsburgh.
•The sacrifices that everyday Black parents, grandparents, neighbors and friends made to ensure that the next generation would be better off.
I will always remember meeting and knowing Mal Goode, he was a combination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. Yes he was one of those Black men who challenged the racism that ran rampant locally, and put his life in peril. Mel was not the only one, but I can’t select a more outstanding Black person to represent the significant number of outstanding Black men and women. There were Black men who were number bankers and gamblers, who were the Black version of Wall Street and Las Vegas, who helped Blacks go into business and supported churches, NAACP, and colored politicians.
There were a staggering number of ministers in the ‘60s who were totally out front during the ‘60s and they could be summarized by Rev. Leroy Patrick.
In 1966, K. Leroy Irvis, first Black Speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, authorized legislature for Penn State, Pitt, Lincoln and Temple to become state-related, thereby increasing the potential for untold numbers of Black students.
This is a brief list of senior citizens who were on the front lines when it was much more difficult and life-threatening, but conviction and commitment prevailed.
This is just a brief listing of local senior Black men and women who made gigantic contributions.
(Louis “Hop” Kendrick is a contributor to the New Pittsburgh Courier.)
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