The campaign for D.C. mayor paid a rare visit yesterday to Anacostia, where candidates pledged not to forget the often neglected part of the city and Democrat John Ray was attacked by two rivals hoping to overtake him in the final three weeks before the primary election.

An outdoor forum sponsored by Union Temple Baptist Church in Southeast gave Ray and Democratic rivals Walter E. Fauntroy and Charlene Drew Jarvis the chance to court about 100 voters who sweltered in the afternoon haze.

The three Democrats also were seeking the endorsement of the Rev. Willie F. Wilson, Union Temple's pastor and a longtime political force in the community around Good Hope Road SE.

Wilson, a staunch ally of Mayor Marion Barry's and onetime co-chairman of Sharon Pratt Dixon's Democratic mayoral campaign, said he would endorse a candidate in the Sept. 11 party primary by tomorrow. He said he would do so in part to draw attention to a corner of Washington that rarely wins official attention, even in election years.

Wilson, pastor of the 2,500-member church for 17 years, said that although some voters in Anacostia "have not been as sophisticatedly involved as they might," the candidates needed to address the issues of drug abuse, inadequate housing and joblessness that have ravaged some Southeast areas.

"There hasn't been a groundswell for any of the candidates here," Wilson said. "The vote over on this side has been taken for granted."

The three Democrats and former police chief Maurice T. Turner Jr., who is unopposed for the Republican nomination, stressed their ties to black Washington yesterday before Wilson's flock.

Fauntroy, for instance, recalled the family friends who "fried chicken and cooked chitlins" to raise money to send him to college and vowed to be "the baddest mayor you all have ever heard."

Fauntroy, the D.C. delegate to Congress who recently described Ray as the "great white hope" of suburban developers, attacked the at-large D.C. Council member as a captive of "outside" real estate interests who oppose the city's rent-control and tenant-protection laws.

Jarvis, who represents Ward 4 on the council, said she declined to accept the endorsement of a predominantly white group of contractors who she contended hoped to weaken the city's programs of minority set-asides, while Ray accepted the group's support.

Ray did not respond directly to Fauntroy, but said Jarvis "has a tendency to go around and {say} everyone who doesn't support her becomes bad." Ray noted he had won the backing of several black business leaders, many of whom were longtime allies of Barry, who is not seeking a fourth term.

When her turn to speak came, Jarvis shot back, "It's not a question of how many endorsements you have, it's a question of what you have to give up to get them."

Dixon did not attend the Union Temple forum. Candidate David A. Clarke (D), the D.C. Council chairman, appeared briefly at the end of the event.

Although Union Temple is at the southern end of Ward 6, which includes the Anacostia Historic District, the church is a spiritual center for many residents of nearby Ward 8, the poorest of the city's eight political subdivisions and the one with the largest percentage of black residents.

Many Anacostians complain that despite unusually high drug use and homicide rates, city services such as treatment centers and police patrols fall short of those in more affluent parts of the District. Metro service, for example, has not crossed the Anacostia River to Ward 8, and the major streets in the neighborhood surrounding Union Temple are blighted, lacking many of the amenities that other parts of Ward 6 and nearby Ward 7 enjoy.

"You think that's Good Hope Road over there?" one resident asked a few members of the audience yesterday. "It's not Good Hope -- it's No Hope."

Several Anacostia residents said yesterday that their interest in Barry's successor has not been piqued by the current campaign.

Derrick Gray, 27, who was earning some extra money selling grilled barbecue and hot dogs from his front lawn a block from Union Temple, said he was undecided in the mayor's race, but leaning toward Fauntroy.

"I think we can get better leadership from him because of his what, 19 years in Congress," Gray said. "Experience is very important."

But Gray said he was troubled by remarks Fauntroy made that he believed were too critical of Barry. "You shouldn't dog anybody just to get a job," Gray said.

Gray also said he was aware of campaign allegations that Ray "was the white man's person, not really for blacks." But Gray said he lent little credence to those charges.

"I voted for Ray for council last time," he said. "Here was a clean-cut guy with two kids. That image kind of caught me."

Gray, an active worker in one of the campaigns for a D.C. Council seat, said he was certain not to vote for either Jarvis or Dixon: "We need a male in there, somebody who can talk with the White House."

Marie Hardy, 42, who walked by Gray's house after a visit to a local laundry, said she was undecided, but favoring Jarvis "because she's a woman."

"I like Dixon too for the same reason," said Hardy, an operating room nurse at D.C. General Hospital. "We've never had a woman in there, but we should."

At the forum, the candidates promised to send government services to sections of the city needing them most. Fauntroy said he would leverage low- and moderate-income housing units from builders who win the right to develop valuable parcels of downtown real estate.

Jarvis said she would overhaul the city's Office of Business and Economic Development to plow new dollars to small and minority-owned firms.

"My frustration has been yours," she told the crowd. "It makes no sense that there are {city government} dollars that are available in Anacostia that have not been spent."

Ray said he hoped to combat drug addiction in Southeast by steering development and jobs to neighborhoods there. Recalling the downtown boom of the Barry years, Ray said, "If we had done half as much on Martin Luther King Avenue, Good Hope Road, Minnesota Avenue, on 14th Street, on H Street, on Kennedy Street as we did on Pennsylvania Avenue, we would not have the drug problem, we would not have the crime problem we have today."

In other developments, a Jarvis aide said Effi Barry, the mayor's wife, attended a Jarvis fund-raiser yesterday and announced that she would begin campaigning for Jarvis after a brief out-of-town trip.

Meanwhile, Mary E. Cox, a lawyer and weekly newspaper columnist who emerged as a visible Barry supporter during the mayor's trial, was collecting petition signatures to win a spot on the fall mayoral ballot as an independent candidate.