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Sample essay topic, essay writing: Marion Barry - 1211 words
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.. hen him immensely for blacks were the majority in D.C. (Agronsky 167-175) In 1975 Marion runs for city councilman and wins. As councilman he gained practical police immunity and strengthened his bond with the city's people. He would continually use race as a political tool to gain power and get things done.
After a gun wound in a 1977 terrorist attack on the District Building Marion Barry gained even more popularity. He gained popularity in the now half black staffed police force and other groups. (Agronsky 175-181) Barry finally runs for mayor 1978. With the backing of 'the police union, the teacher union and the firefighters union'(Lemann) and the fact he seemed to be the 'real vote against racism' (Lemann) Barry was a natural in. The Washington post believed Barry was just what the city needed, a person who would spice things up a bit
They wanted a Mayor who would not hesitate to take action. (Washington Post Editorial 1978) The city expected Barry 'to narrow the gap between black and whites' (Lemann) economically and socially. After endorsing Barry for the 1978 election, (Washington Post Editorial 1978) they seem to regret it the next year. In a 1979 article Coleman claims his speeches content have become more like that of the slow and oaf like Washington (Barry's predecessor) 'than of the outrages of American materialism and injustices of racial discrimination that once were Barry's major themes.' (Coleman) Quoting Barry, 'If I can just get everybody to answer the phone right, that's drastic change, that's revolution', Coleman proves Barry is perhaps not the Mayor everyone claimed he would become. (Coleman) Yet perhaps the media is always negative about American politicians. Barry did go through some obvious changes when he came to his political office.
He no longer was the black activist he once ones. He was now part of the black middle class and would attend black middle-class events more than not. Taking such action as building middle class neighborhoods in Prendergast 5Washington D.C. instead of city housing. The black middle class 'whose support Barry didn't get in his last campaign but will probably need to get reelected' says Lemann (Lemann).
Barry seemed to take on a new attitude but people still wanted him, he had done a great deal for D.C. in the past. Lemann was worried he would not pull through for the poor blacks as promised. (Lemann) Barry seemed to promise more than he would deliver (Lemann). He did provide jobs for unemployed youth but not the number he had promised (Lemann).
He did give 25% of government contracts to black owned firms but did no create any new firms (Lemann). Looking past their complaints the Washington Post again endorses Barry at reelection time in 1982. Barry, in his first term, had removed some of the 'deadwood' bureaucrats and replaced them with 'first-rate people', said the Post. He also had put the Districts financial affairs in order. Although he did not pull through all his promises the ones he did were satisfactory. (Washington Post Editorial 1982) Marion went on to win the 1982 election.
Two years into his second term Barry ran into a few more problems. He had failed to bring about 7% pay raises without the 540 job losses. He eliminated the General Public Assistance Program. He also let the property tax increase after promising not to. (Pianin, Sherwood) However Washington D.C.
still believed 'His political instincts and his particular feelings for the city's constituencies remain exceptionally keen' (Washington Post Editorial 1986). Crime was down to that of average for an American city, their were many summer jobs for youth and municipal services had improved greatly (Washington Post Editorial 1986). All this and the lack of a better choice helped Barry get elected to his third term. In the last year of his third term Barry was caught in an F.B.I. sting.
He was in a hotel room with an old girlfriend when he smoked some F.B.I. supplied crack-cocaine. F.B.I. agents stormed the room and arrested him. This was part of an attempt to clean up the District government. He was defeated for a council seat he was running for following his arrest.
For the 13 charges against he was convicted of one which was the possession of cocaine. Sentenced to six months in jail he was able to finish his last Prendergast 6year in office and serve time the following year. Marion had breached the public's trust and opened himself to his enemies. (Thompson, York) Marion Barry returns in 1992 to be elected Ward 8 Council Seat, at this point he seems almost invincible. Then when he regains his title as Mayor Barry in the 1994 election, Marion proves he is invincible. However the title Mayor no longer holds the power it did in the 80s. Congress created a control board for the Districts Mayor's office that limited it's power. This new control board seems to be an attempt to keep Washington D.C.
from home rule and to stop a man they fear greatly. (Loeb) Marion did not seek a fifth term as Mayor. Washington citizens have no representation in Congress and therefore I believe this control board is unfair. The people reelected Barry and therefore must trust him. Congress has never limited a Mayor's power before (Shepard). Congress should not be able to take the power from the people because they fear a black Mayor that has made a few mistakes in the past.
Barry paid for his mistakes yet is not allowed to wield the power he was granted by the majority of his city. Marion Barry has shown us America is the land of opportunity. He has also showed us how unfair our government may be. Barry has shown us two extremes, any goal can be accomplished, yet we must still work on our system to perfect it. Marion Barry has seen many generations come and go. He has seen his political career come and go. He has seen the civil rights movement come and go. He's seen a fair government come and go.
Marion has showed us the majority truly does rule, by selecting a sinful Mayor on his merits and not his demerits. However he has showed us in the case of Washington D.C. of government can be unfair and we must not stand for it. Prendergast 7Works CitedAgronsky, Jonathan I.Z. Marion Barry: The politics of Race.
Latham: British American Publishing. 1991.Barras, Jonetta Rose. The Last of the Black Emperors. Baltimore: Bancroft Press. 1998Coleman, Milton. 'Marion Barry: The Activist Denies He's Changed.' Washington Post 2 January 1979Lemann, Nicholas.
'The Question Is: Will He Deliver?' Washington Post 16 December 1979Loeb, Vernon. 'D.C.'s Mild-Mannered Mayor.' Washington Post 24 October 1997: B01'Marion Barry for Mayor.' Editorial. Washington Post 30 August 1978 'Marion Barry for Mayor.' Editorial. Washington Post 2 November 1986'Marion Barry: Making of a Mayor.' 21 May 1998 <http://www.jobs.washingtonpost.com/wpsrv/local /longterm/library/dc/barry/barry.htm> (25 February 2000).'The Next Mayor...' Editorial. Washington Post 10 September 1982 Piann, Eric and Tom Sherwood. 'Barry's Chickens Prepare to Roost.' Washington Post 19 January 1983 Shepard, Paul. ''Mayor for Life' Without a City.' Kansas City Star 23 August 1997: n.p.York, Michael and Track Thompson.
'Barry Sentenced to Months in Prison.' Washington Post 27 October 1990: A01.
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