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View Diary: Marion Barry's Dissenting Vote and the Black Community at large w/update (195 comments)

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    steve04, KentuckyKat

    Marion Barry was a city councilman at the time, and was taking on incumbent mayor Walter E. Washington in the 1978 Democratic primary. Washington and another challenger, Sterling Tucker, had the support of the conservative black churches. Barry gambled on picking up enough votes in the gay community to counter the conservative black vote divided between Washington and Tucker. Barry actually had a good record on gay rights as a councilman and won the endorsement of the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club, a gay group, which provided money and manpower. At least $10,000 was raised for Barry at a fundraiser at a gay bar (the Eagle), with several thousand more from other gay donors, which was a lot of money in those days. There were a series of cocktail parties to get gays to register and vote for Barry. In the end, Barry won the primary by just 1,356 votes, and it was the gay support which tipped the scales.

    The source for this information is Clendinen and Nagourney's history of the gay rights movement, Out for Good.

    "I had seen the universe as it begins for all things. It was, in reality, a child's universe, a tiny and laughing universe." Loren Eiseley

    by cadejo4 on Wed May 06, 2009 at 11:35:28 AM PDT

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