When one thinks of the NAACP Pittsburgh Branch one the
names that first comes to mind is that of Harvey
Adams who served as the Branch’s President from 1976
through 2002, some sixteen years.
As a former
ten year Branch President myself I can tell anyone that sixteen
years of service is a lot of service! That was a huge commitment.
Harvey was constantly a powerful, clear and passionate voice for
the African American community of Pittsburgh.
agreed with Harvey Adams or not one always knew where he stood,
even when it may have not have been in Harvey’s best interest
as when he confronted former Pittsburgh Mayor Tom Murphy while
he served as the City of Pittsburgh’s Housing Authority
and lost his job. Harvey was founder of one the nation’s
first Black police fraternities, the Guardians of Greater Pittsburgh.
tried to look out for the collective interests of people of color
in the area of police procedures, and the public at large. In
the late 70’s the NAACP, the Guardians of Greater Pittsburgh
and the National Organization for Women (NOW) sued the city due
to its discriminatory procedures against women and minorities,
which led to the historic Weber Consent Decree which mandated
that one Black and one female be hired out of every four hires.
My understanding is that not only did the numbers of Black police
officers swell significantly, but the percentage of female officers
was among the highest in the country as a result of this decree.
the Weber Consent Decree was lifted a few years ago and the numbers
of women and minorities has plummeted. I had the honor of serving
as a Vice President of the NAACP Pittsburgh Branch during part
of Harvey’s term as President. He also continued to provide
our Branch leadership during my ten years as Branch President
as our Chair of the Police Affairs Committee. Harvey’s bold
profile and leadership will always be remembered by those of us
who knew him!
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