A Better St. Louis. Powered by Journalism.
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Print
  • Email

MLK events once again entwined in St. Louis mayor's race

In Backroom

1:06 pm on Mon, 01.21.13

During mayoral election years in St. Louis, activities surrounding Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday often take on an overtly political cast.

This year is no different.

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay and his chief rival in the Democratic primary, Lewis Reed, are both participating in activities commemorating King's birthday.

But for most the part, the two aren't present at the same events or speaking to the same crowds.

Lewis Reed
Lewis Reed

Reed was grand marshal for today's annual parade that travels from the Old Courthouse to Powell Hall for an interfaith service. Reed also spoke at the kickoff event at the Old Courthouse before the parade got underway.

Slay, meanwhile, instead appeared this morning at the 28th annual commemorative breakfast at the Monsanto Family YMCA, 5555 Page Boulevard.

Francis Slay
Francis Slay

Slay also is participating in various MLK Day of Service events today, including a massive cleanup at Ruth Porter Park Community Garden, part of the St. Vincent Greenway revitalization. Car parts and old kitchen appliances were among the items littering the park.

For both campaigns, this year’s activities have become laced with a dispute over an apparent attempt by some mayoral critics, led by Percy Green, to resurrect a longstanding protest tactic against Slay called the “Boo Krew.”

Resurrection of 'Boo Krew'?

Green has been behind various efforts to organize “booing’’ at Slay’s official or campaign events for years, going back to the controversy over the mayor's differences with the first African-American fire chief, Sherman George.

Green often has tied the effort to MLK celebrations, prompting Slay to tweet today, "Encouraging disruption of the MLK parade is despicable."

On Saturday, Green spoke at a Reed campaign event marking the MLK anniversary and called once again for a booing campaign against the mayor.

Reed's campaign manager Glenn Burleigh, who said he wasn't present at the weekend event, denied today that the campaign was encouraging any such activities. But the campaign has no plans to condemn them, either.

"Percy Green is not part of our campaign," Burleigh said.

Chuckling, he added, "We're not coordinating folks to follow around the mayor and ‘boo’... We don’t have the money to pay people to do that.”

At the same time, Burleigh observed that the campaign can't prevent such activities. “It’s a free country. Whatever folks do on their own time, we have no control over.”

Slay campaign manager Richard Callow wasn't laughing.

"The (Green) words were part of a briefing delivered at a Reed campaign strategy meeting," Callow said. "I am not particularly reassured when Mr. Reed's agitator/campaign manager, who missed the meeting, disavows the statements of the septuagenarian activist who made them, only after they became public. I'd rather hear Mr. Reed, who was present, explain what he meant."

Callow then added, "If you are planning to invite Mr. Reed to a speaking event over the next six weeks, you might consider adding some extra chairs for his 'Boo Krew.'"

Burleigh said the Saturday event was a "public meet-and-greet advertised on multiple radio stations, and wasn't a strategy session."

No Comments

Join The Beacon

When you register with the Beacon, you can save your searches as news alerts, rsvp for events, manage your donations and receive news and updates from the Beacon team.

Register Now

Already a Member

Getting around the new site

Take a look at our tutorials to help you get the hang of the new site.

Most Discussed Articles By Beacon Members

Conference of American nuns will mull response to Vatican charges

In Nation

7:55 am on Fri, 08.03.12

Meeting in St. Louis next week, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious will have its first opportunity as an assembled group to consider what to do after the Vatican issued a mandate for change this spring. It calls on the conference to reorganize and more strictly observe church teachings.

The 'free' Zoo

In Commentary

7:51 am on Tue, 05.22.12

When a family of four goes to the St. Louis Zoo, they can be forgiven for not knowing it will cost them $60, $72 if they park. If they can't pay, the alternative is to tell the kids they can't do what kids do at the zoo.

Featured Articles

House sends Boeing incentive bill to Nixon

In Economy

12:55 pm on Fri, 12.06.13

The Missouri House easily passed legislation aimed at attracting production of the 777x, a move that wraps up a legislative special session that saw little suspense and few surprises. The bill now goes to Gov. Jay Nixon, who has strongly supported the legislation.

Gandhi inspired Mandela on South Africa's 'Long Road to Freedom'

In World

10:10 am on Fri, 12.06.13

Nelson Mandela, who died Thursday at the age of 95, was a towering moral figure of the 20th century -- along with Mahatma Gandhi. It was no coincidence that Gandhi and Mandela, whose paths never crossed directly, both embarked on their campaigns against discrimination in South Africa. It was when Mandela won election as South Africa’s first black president that Gandhi's influence became apparent.

Featured Articles

Regina Carter brings jazz and therapy to Children's Hospital

6:36 am on Mon, 12.09.13

One night, the violinist is taking bows before a standing ovation at Jazz at the Bistro. The next afternoon, some of her audience may have trouble standing, but the kids in the playroom at Children's Hospital were no less appreciative. “Jazz is medicine personified," according to a doctor who brings in the jazz musicians.

Encore: Dead before death

In Performing Arts

12:58 am on Fri, 12.06.13

For years , the author was certain he would never come to appreciate The Grateful Dead, let alone be a Deadhead. But little by little, he's come around. He talks about his conversion and relates a real evolution: by a musician who went on to play with the Schwag, a Dead cover band.

Featured Articles

Schlichter honored with St. Louis Award

In Region

4:57 pm on Tue, 12.03.13

The attorney has founded Arch Grants, which brings together nonprofit philanthropy and commercially viable opportunitiesto fund new business startups, and Mentor St. Louis, which finds adult mentors for elementary students in the St. Louis Public School System. He was the driving force behind the state's historic tax credit program.

BioGenerator sets open house to celebrate new digs for entrepreneurs-in-residence

In InnovationSTL

12:29 pm on Tue, 11.12.13

BioSTL's BioGenerator organization is on the move as its entrepreneurs-in-residence find a new home in 4,300 square feet of office and conference space in an old automobile factory. The blossoming program, which helps BioGenerator's portfolio companies to get off the ground, continues to pay dividends within the growing biotech community.

Ambassadors aim to soften rough landing for St. Louis immigrants

In InnovationSTL

6:34 am on Fri, 11.08.13

The St. Louis Mosaic Project is set to hold an orientation for its new ambassadors -- dozens of foreign and native-born volunteers who aim to help make the community a more welcoming place for those from other nations. Participants will be expected to do everything from visiting local restaurants serving international cuisine to having dinner with an immigrant to the area.

Recent Articles

More Articles

Innovation and entrepreneurial activity are on the rise in St. Louis, especially in bioscience, technology and alternative energy. The Beacon's InnovationSTL section focuses on the people who are part of this wave, what they're doing and how this is shaping our future. To many St. Louisans, this wave is not yet visible. InnovationSTL aims to change that. We welcome you to share your knowledge, learn more about this vibrant trend and discuss its impact.

Featured Articles

Regina Carter brings jazz and therapy to Children's Hospital

6:36 am on Mon, 12.09.13

One night, the violinist is taking bows before a standing ovation at Jazz at the Bistro. The next afternoon, some of her audience may have trouble standing, but the kids in the playroom at Children's Hospital were no less appreciative. “Jazz is medicine personified," according to a doctor who brings in the jazz musicians.

Featured Articles

Featured Events:

More About The Beacon Home