Fred Logan: Bring Summer Lee and James Hayes to Pittsburgh’s Hill District


by Fred Logan

Five months and some days are left until the November 5, 2024 US general election. In the US House of Representative Pennsylvania District 12, the incumbent Summer Lee is battling James Hayes. Both are African Americans. 

     Lee is a self-declared “progressive,” in line with the Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wing of the National Democratic Party.


    James Hayes is in line with many of the polices of the MAGA-Donald Trump wing of US politics. The battle lines are clearly drawn.

     Will the Black Vote, as usual, be taken for granted? In 2008 and 2012, obviously by design, Obama was very wary of the national Black community, and so-called “Black issues.”

    Throughout the recent 12th district congressional primary, there was very little campaigning (by design?) in the Black community.

     District 12 is located in Southwestern Pennsylvania. It covers much of Allegheny County, largest city Pittsburgh, and portions of other counties. The population is 72 percent White, 15  percent Black, 4.5 percent Asian, 2.8  percent Hispanic…

    The Black community in District 12 has been devastated by all of the social and economic catastrophes that we hear daily have devastated mainstream White America. The collapse of the region’s heavy manufacturing industry intensified the economic and social troubles of District 12.

     Historical White racism locked the Black community at the bottom of District 12’s race, class, and gender social pyramid and this further intensified the social and economic woes of Black community. Does Congresswoman Lee and Mr. Hayes agree with that?


     Bring the Summer Lee James Hayes battle live, in-person, to Pittsburgh’s Hill District. The Hill District is the prefect site for a historic political forum on local Black politics in the 21st century.

     The Hill was the regional center of Black culture and Black politics during the brief golden era of New York’s Harlem, and Chicago’s South Side in the mid-20th century.

     Progressive, Rainbow politics are not new to Black folks. Many of today’s Progressive planks are also the basic planks which keep reappearing in Black agendas.

   Here is a very important question to Progressives, does “Rainbow” politics mean the interests of the Black community are secondary to that “intersectional” race, gender and class electorate Progressives claim to represent? Many Progressives don’t support the Black reparations struggle which is an historical movement against the race, gender and class status quo.

     For a refresher read, Reluctant Reformers: Racism and Social Reform Movements in the United States by Robert Allen, on European American progressive movements and their relationships to the Black Freedom Movement.

   Here is a very important question for the GOP, is 12th district candidate James Hayes in the same political mold as the current North Carolina GOP gubernatorial candidate Mark Robinson? Apparently, Robinson along with Georgia’s Hershel Walker embody the prototype Black candidate in the National Republican Party.

     Right this very moment, the United States is in the grip of one of the most dangerous presidential campaigns in American history. The Republican candidate Donald Trump is an open right-wing extremist.  

     Trump said long ago he admires Benito Mussolini, the founder of the European Fascist movement. Trump openly panders to US right-wing extremists like the Ku Klux Klan and Neo-Nazis. Even so, Trump received over 70,000,000 votes in the 2020 presidential race.

     Pennsylvania is a key battle ground state in the election.  In 2020, Trump beat Biden in 54 of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties.  Biden beat Trump by only 80,555 votes out of 6,833,903 total votes casted in Pennsylvania. Separate the White vote from the state’s non-White votes and the majority of White people in the state of Pennsylvania voted for Trump in 2020. Biden won 50 percent, and Trump won 48.8 percent of the state total vote, a difference of just less than 2  percent!

     The priority of the GOP is to win enough votes in District 12 to help Trump carry Pennsylvania. Tens of Millions of presidential campaign dollars will be spent across the state. 

    The Black community cannot just “Vote.” That is the only message we often hear. The Black community must mobilize, educate, organize and put its interests on the table along with all of the other interest groups.

    That’s politics not just “We Vote.” Just “We Vote” is when “We” get taken for granted.

     Mrs. Fannie Lou Hamer told us the ballot can be a carrot or a stick.  

In 2020, I did not vote for Joe Biden, the-lesser-of-two-evils, but against Donald Trump, the-greater-of-two-evils, perhaps. The positive in a choice of two negatives, “the affirmative in every negation.”

      The Black community is obligated to prepare itself. At a 2023 “Meet and Greet” event in Homewood the comments from a member of the East Hills Consensus group made a very important contribution to the event.

    Of the utmost importance, the Black community cannot allow Black egomaniacs to disrupt community meetings and discredit the community. We see often them on stage or in the audience. Talking off-the-top of their head. Can’t remember what they just said. Eyes half closed, and obviously can’t pass a piss test.

      We see some on the panel or in the audience at candidates forums.  Staggering intoxicated. Shirt tails hanging out.  Bragging over, over about themselves, “You know Me!” “Me!” “Me!” Acting a damn-fool, “half-drunk and whole crazy.” 

       That must not be tolerated!

     Of course, some people talk on and on. But that’s normal in public meetings and can be dealt with without calling in our Sargent at arms. 

     The Hill District is the absolutely perfect location for a debate between US congresswoman Summer Lee and her opponent James Hayes.  Of course, other majority-Black District 12 enclaves are ideal venues for Summer Lee and James Hayes debates. 




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