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Black ministers throw support to Smith

By By Ben Alexander/The Meridian Star
April 25, 2001
Mayor John Robert Smith's re-election campaign got an unexpected boost Tuesday as members of the predominantly African-American Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance formally endorsed his candidacy.
Several members of the organization attended a press conference at City Hall to make the announcement, including: Rev. W.C. Brown, president of the East Mississippi Baptist State Convention; Dr. M.C. Thompson, moderator of the Second New Hope Missionary Baptist Association; Rev. M.L. Sampson, president of the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance; Rev. Roderick Steele; Rev. Tony Burks; and Rev. J.W. Thompson.
The alliance's endorsement comes less than a week after Smith faced a less-than-sympathetic crowd at an NAACP-sponsored mayoral debate.
Thompson said the ministers urge voters to support Smith because of his accomplishments during the last several years, including his contributions to large construction projects such as Bonita Lakes Mall, the Grand Opera House and a new Wal-Mart Supercenter.
Rae Gordon, volunteer campaign chairman of Smith's re-election effort, was pleased with Tuesday's announcement.
Smith was out of town on city business Tuesday and could not be reached for comment.
Thompson said the alliance will continue its attempt to garner more votes for Smith including a rally on Monday at the 31st Avenue Missionary Baptist Church. The rally will begin at 7 p.m.
Ben Alexander is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call him at 693-1551, ext. 3226, or e-mail him at balexander@themeridianstar.com.

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