Marion Barry came to prominence during the infancy of home rule in the District, first as a civil rights leader and then as a member of the D.C. school board. He later served on the D.C. Council and then became the city's second elected mayor, serving four terms -- one of them interrupted by a prison sentence. People remain sharply divided over the Barry legacy, some claiming he was the best thing ever to happen to the city, others insisting he was the worst. At the time of the Post's Sept. 4, 1971, report on his possible candidacy for the school board, however, he was still largely untested. An excerpt:

By Ivan C. Brandonand David R. Boldt

Washington Post Staff Writers

Marion Barry, founder of the black self-help organization Pride, Inc., and an occasional adversary of local police over their activities in the black community, is expected to run for the at-large seat on the D.C. School Board.

Although Barry wouldn't discuss his candidacy with reporters, his backers and personal associates said he has decided to enter the race, which will pit him against Anita F. Allen, the school board president, and possibly other candidates. They also said that he is expected to run with the blessing of Del. Walter E. Fauntroy (D-D.C.) and with the help of major segments of Fauntroy's campaign organization.

Barry was understood to have met with the advertising firm of Abramson-Himelfarb, which handled media for the Fauntroy campaign; a member of Fauntroy's congressional staff was understood to have agreed to be Barry's campaign manger also, one of the key operational figures in Fauntroy's campaign is to handle fund-raising for Barry. Fauntroy was out of the city yesterday and couldn't be reached for comment.

A citizens committee for Barry is expected to announce its formation next week, with Barry's announcement coming at the start of the following week.

This November, Washington voters will elect six members of the nine-member board, including an at-large seat for lots, and individual contests in five of the city's eight voting wards.

This is the third election since Congress changed the board from an appointed to an elected body in 1968.

Most of the past school board contests have lacked political structure. Dozens of candidates have filed for the election, running with small campaign organizations and on platforms little known or largely undifferentiated. ...

Barry, who holds a master's degree from Fisk University, Nashville, Tenn., came to Washington in 1965 to head the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. In connection with SNCC and the Black United Front here, Barry was involved in a series of confrontations with police over his allegations of police brutality and harassment.

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