The Mystique Of Marion Barry Essay Research

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The Mystique Of Marion Barry Essay, Research Paper In January of 1990, Washington, DC, the seat of the federal government of the United States was turned upside down by scandal. While the headlines were filled with the efforts of the Bush Administration to crack down on drugs, the District’s Mayor and symbol of black power against a nearly all white backdrop of authority was caught on videotape buying and than smoking crack cocaine with an exotic dancer two days before he was expected to announce an unprecedented fourth campaign for mayor. The sting was setup and carried out by a Federal Bureau of Investigation unit that had been pursing the frequent rumors of the Mayor’s drug dependency. Five years later, Barry would be successful in obtaining a fourth term. Barry’s

defeat of his Republican opponent, Carol Schwartz, a Jewish woman was a remarkable statement of Barry’s uncanny connection with the majority of the District electorate, in the face of scandal and undisputable evidence of drug use. In fact, many regard Barry’s return to the District Mayor’s office as a strong slap in the face to the establishment of Congressional intervention, Federal Control Boards and the such. Barry’s re-election was a result of political savvy voter registration program as well as his uncanny connection with the majority of those that lived in predominantly black and Democratic city. He connected, or at least in a public relations sense, connected with the people, he capitalized on the failures of his predecessor Sharon Pratt Kelly, talked about issues

people wanted to hear about, and possessed a character trait about him that made it nearly impossible for some not to be drawn too. Central to Marion Barry’s success in Washington, DC politics is his long-term association with the region. In 1965, Barry, a graduate of LeMoyne College, came to the nation’s capital as a leader of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Barry immediately, capitalized on his popularity in the city. In 1971, he ran for and won election to the school board. Four years later, Barry also successfully won an at-large seat on the City Council. As WashingtonPost.Com observed in a retrospect, “Barry was a radically new kind of politician. Raised in poverty, he built a political base from Anacostia rather than through the traditional

black power brokers on 16th Street’s Gold Coast. He embodied black political aspirations.” Barry was re-elected to the City Council in 1976, and ran for Mayor in 1978. Given the District’s political demographics, the Democratic Primary Election was the true political battle in the Mayoral race. Whoever won the nomination would surely win the General Election in November. Sterling Tucker was not only Barry’s main foe during the Primary, but served as Chairman of the City Council that Barry served on. Although in later years, the Editorial Page of The Washington Post would become one of Barry’s biggest critics, he did win the city’s largest and most powerful endorsement in 1978. Highlights of the August 30, 1978 endorsement include: “What Mr. Barry seems to value, and

to be offering, in other words, is precisely what we think the people of this city need, and ought to be looking for. We have in mind particular qualities of leadership – energy, nerve, initiative, imagination, toughness of mind, an active concern for people in distress, command presence if you will – that have been conspicuously absent from the present administration and also seem to be missing from Mr. Tucker.” Before there can be further analysis of Barry’s success in District politics; despite an extremely negative public opinion on a national level; it is essential to understand the power of the office Barry sought for two decades. Although Washington, DC is among the largest twenty-five cities in the United States, the mayor of the nation’s capital has a