by Louis ‘Hop’ Kendrick, For New Pittsburgh Courier
We generally, when we refer to a Black man as a strong Black man, we name men who are nationwide or international. Overwhelmingly, we refer to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Rev. Adam Clayton Powell, Paul Robeson, Nelson Mandela and oftentimes, our fathers. We are correct, but it has always been a concern of mine that too frequently, we ignore those that live and work and sacrificed among us. I have been fortunate to know and have known a large number of strong Black men who have lived and worked throughout Allegheny County.
I will introduce to some of you a strong man that I have had the good fortune to have known him as a youth and watch him develop into a STRONG BLACK MAN. His size alone would describe him as a strong Black man but I am referring to the kind of strength that he used to build communities and character in persons that he has come in contact with over the years. He has the physical statute of a professional athlete, in fact, he is Pittsburgh’s version of the L.A. Lakers’ King Lebron James, who built a school in Ohio. The person that I am referring to does not shoot 3 pointers in the NBA, but he scores a multitude of points when it comes to improving the quality of life throughout our communities. The strong Black man that I am referring to is the former executive director of the Kingsley Association, Malik Bankston.
In his capacity has executive director he was the driving force that built the current Kingsley building. The largest building ever built in the history of Allegheny County by a Black contractor, first-class swimming pool, first-class gymnasium, education, exercise, health, community meeting facilities…He would be the first person to state he could not have done it without the Kingsley’s Board of Directors, but if you have been reading my columns over the last 20 years you know it is titled, “TO TELL THE TRUTH.”
It is my absolute conviction that it was the ability, conviction, concern, commitment, dedication, love and physical and moral strength of Malik Bankston, a SUPER STRONG BLACK MAN.
(Louis “Hop” Kendrick is a contributor to the New Pittsburgh Courier.)
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