Reprinted from yesterday's late editions
The disco music was blaring, so Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson shouted to make his point.
"At the White House, without a doubt he made a difference for the good," Jackson said Thursday as he turned from giving Larry Bailey a crunching embrace.
Bailey, 36, the second-highest ranking black member of the Carter staff, has left for a new job. Jackson labeled him. "Lawrence of Arabia," since he has joined the board of the First African Arabian Corporation.
Some 200 guests, including other young black Carter officials, packed the party room in Waterside Towers, a Southwest apartment complex, to say goodbye to Bailey. Most of them signed a blow-up photograph of him.
"Although he was a presidential appointee, he never forgot the problems of blacks and served the community as well as the president," said James Lowry, a Chicago-based consultant. "It's a very tricky thing when you are a black aide to anything, but Bailey balanced it very nicely."
Bailey, an urban affairs specialist, was the first black appointed to the pre-election Carter transition team, and he later worked on the White House's inter-governmental affairs staff. He resigned May 15.
The corporation he joined is a business effort financed principally by three Saudi Arabian princes and boxing champion Muhammad Ali. One of its first import-export deals involved a grape soda called "Mr. Champs."
Bailey's departure from the White House, along with the resignation or job turnover involving five other blacks since May 1, and the rejection by Mayor Richard Hatcher of Gary, Ind., of a senior staff position on urban and black affairs at the White House have raised speculation outside the White House that blacks within the Carter administration feel they lack impact.
But Bailey said yesterday, "I think each of these departures should be judged individually, not collectively. I think my presence contributed to some understanding of the problems of the city."
And Jackson, caucusing in a corner with other urban affairs specialists, added, "Larry built some very important bridges, was always a willing soldier and was essentially a very together brother, and what that means is that he has a superb grasp of the pragmatic ways we can advance the struggle. He combines the dream with the techniques."