They both arrived in town in 1965, within months of each other, and soon become fused in the mindsof many as the dashiki-clad militant twins of the nation's capital: Marion Barry from Itta Bena, Miss., and the Rev. Douglas E. Moore, from Hickory, N.C.
They brought with them the confrontation tactics of the civil rights movement, hoping to arouse Washington's conservative black population to agitate for home rule and local control.
Since those days, the paths of the two men have crossed many times, but their commmonality has been severed over the years. Moore often speaks of Barry in terms usually reserved for arch political foes, and Barry pretty much ignores Moore. These days, the two share little more than an intention to run for office this year.
Barry, who is now mayor, will be running to retain that job. Moore will be fighting to return to the City Council after a four year absence, two defeats and nearly three months in jail.
Sitting at a table in the luxurious atmosphere of the Montpelier Room of the Madison Hotel, often a dining place for diplomats, oil sheiks and princes, Moore talked this week about his intention to oppose two-term incumbent William R. Spaulding for the City Council seat for Ward 5, where Moore has lived for years.
On this day, Moore wore a three-piece navy blue suit, a pale yellow shirt, a red tie with a black background. His campaign manager, David Chatman, an accounting professor at the University of the District of Columbia, was at his side.
Moore did most of the talking. He spoke of his time in jail (he was released in September), the unfairness of his sentence, his upcoming campaign, his new image, and his dislike for Marion Barry, who, unlike Moore, adopted a more traditional--and successful--political style.
The cockiness that marked Moore's first term on the Council is still there, though it appears to be muted, tentative and occasionally veneered with charm. For each of his campaigns, Douglas Moore has always advertised a new image. This time it is discipline and orderliness.
He seems more relaxed. He is paunchier, he says, because "I've been sitting at home eating French bread and--if the bishop is not listening (Moore is a Methodist minister)--sipping a little wine, and my mother indulges me in pound cakes. My mother makes the best pound cakes in the world."
As a member of the council, Moore often would answer the pointed questions of city hall reporters in French. The French phrases still lace a conversation, reminders that Moore spent four years in French-speaking Africa as a missionary.
Moore, at 54, is now a veteran warrior of sorts. But he is a warrior drawn once more to battle-- even if the odds seem unfavorable after two stunning defeats.
"People tell me, 'We need you. We miss you,' " he explains. "Sometimes I walk from Judiciary Square to Connecticut Avenue and people will stop me and tell me how bad things are, especially with the city government."
He turns aside suggestions that a City Council seat (which would pay $35,000 a year) is the last refuge for an unemployed politician and minister without a church. Although he is not working, he has had several job offers, he says.
He has an idea for saving the city government up to 25 percent on its energy bills. But he won't reveal it, he says, because Barry might steal it. Moore says he is concerned about what he perceives as the low morale among District employes and noted in passing that Spaulding is the chairman of the council's government operations committee.
Then, closer to home, he contends that the crime rate in Ward 5 is rising, something he attributes to a large concentration of halfway houses.
"It disturbs me that we have become the dumping ground," he says.
Soon, Moore says, he intends to conduct a telephone survey that will assess voter attitudes toward his jail term. In June, Moore was sentenced to six months in jail after D.C. Superior Court Judge Milton D. Korman ruled Moore had ignored the terms of his probation for an assault conviction stemming from a 1975 fracas with a tow truck driver.
Moore says the jail sentence "was a brutal repressive political act . . . designed to discredit and destroy me."
He was paroled in September and when his parole ended on Dec. 21, he celebrated his complete freedom with a "thank you" party at his home for those who had stood behind him.
About 125 people came including former secretary of Health and Human Services Patricia Roberts Harris, who is considering running against Barry and whom Moore says he will support.
Asked if he thinks about his career and Barry's, he says, "Each man must learn by his own destiny."
But he also recalls that some inmates at the D.C. Jail told him, "If you had been quiet, you could have been mayor."