This is 2019, not 1619, 1719, 1819, or even 1919.
This is the North, not the South.
This is Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, not Philadelphia, Mississippi.
Despite those facts, no Black candidates for Common Pleas Court judge or Municipal Court judge were elected during the Philadelphia primary on May 21. Not one.
Racists will say that’s because not one of the eight Black candidates among the 27 total candidates was qualified. And I’d say those racists are liars. Here’s the proof:
Terri Michelle Booker is licensed to practice in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York and has spent most of her career pursuing justice for wrongfully convicted inmates and volunteering to teach high school students about law.
Theresa Brunson served as an Assistant District Attorney, a law clerk in Common Pleas Court, and a Chief of Staff as well as a Legislative Director in City Council.
Laurie Dow was promoted to Divisional Deputy City Solicitor, holds an LL.M degree in Transactional Law, and has spent nearly two decades protecting the legal rights of Philadelphia’s most vulnerable children and families. She also was recommended for election by the Philadelphia Bar Association
Leon Goodman, a trial lawyer for nearly 25 years and a lecturer at Temple Law School and Imhotep Charter School, was arguably the most qualified of all candidates- Black, white, Latinx, or Asian- because of his remarkable career as an exemplary homicide prosecutor in the District Attorney’s Office and currently as a top-notch defense attorney in high profile adult and juvenile cases. He also was recommended for election by the Philadelphia Bar Association.
Cateria R. McCabe, arguably one of the most culturally “woke” judicial candidates ever, has been an attorney for nearly 30 years excelling in the fields of domestic relations, real estate, landlord/tenant, and estate planning. She also was recommended for election by the Philadelphia Bar Association.
Kendra McCrae is a highly experienced former Assistant District Attorney who protected the community from violent crime and drug trafficking in hundreds of jury and bench trials and works as a prominent defense attorney to guarantee fair trials to anyone criminally accused. She also was recommended for election by the Philadelphia Bar Association.
Janine D. Momasso, a former judicial intern and law clerk in two jurisdictions, has a successful family law practice with offices in Philadelphia County, Bucks County, and New Jersey.
Sherman Toppin, licensed to practice in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Virginia, is a former president of the Barristers Association and a real estate law expert who continues to teach real estate law to attorneys in Pennsylvania Bar Institute courses and to undergraduate students at Temple University.
Macon Bolling Allen in 1844, which was 21 years before slavery “ended,” became the first Black lawyer in America when he was admitted to the Maine bar. John Swett Rock, a physician, in 1865- just one day after Congress approved the Thirteenth Amendment on January 31- became the first Black lawyer admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court. Jonathan Jasper Wright in 1865 became the first Black lawyer in Pennsylvania. Charlotte E. Ray in 1872 became the first Black woman lawyer in America when she was admitted to the D.C. bar. John Daniel Lewis and Jeremiah H. Scott in 1876 became the first Black lawyers to practice in Philadelphia. George Lewis Ruffin in 1883 became the first Black judge in America when he was appointed to Municipal Court by the Massachusetts governor.
Allen, Rock, Wright, Ray, Lewis, Scott, and Ruffin are all rolling over in their graves while yelling “Shame, shame, shame” to Philadelphia. But their outrage is directed more at Black folks than white folks here. Why? After extrapolating the numbers from all 66 wards and focusing on the predominantly Black ones while taking into account that Blacks are the city’s ethnic majority at 42.56 percent, the conclusion is that only about 20 percent of registered Black voters actually voted on May 21. And it was an embarrassing 11 percent in one North Philly ward. WTF?
Clearly, much of the fault lies with the Democratic County Executive Committee of Philadelphia- better known as the Philadelphia Democratic City Committee- and some of its officials for their failure to endorse and promote the many qualified Black candidates based on merit (instead of what, in my personal opinion, was nothing more than extortionist demands for about $60,000 apiece in political “bribe” money from each judicial candidate).
But most of the fault lies with Blacks who didn’t register to vote and Black registered voters who didn’t vote. It’s your fault, dammit. Our ancestors knew they could be lynched for registering to vote or for voting but they did it anyway so you would be free. And now that you’re free, you selfishly turn your back on their selfless sacrifice.
I know that not many in Democratic leadership positions and absolutely none in Republican leadership positions fight for us. But so what! We gotta fight for ourselves.
Remember that on November 5, 2019 during the general municipal election. And remember that on November 3, 2020 during the presidential election along with the U.S. House and Senate elections.
In conclusion, and to paraphrase Marcus Garvey, “None but ourselves can free ourselves.”