Baltimore Ex-Mayor 'Du' Burns Dies at 84

Associated Press
Monday, January 13, 2003; Page B03

Clarence "Du" Burns, a stalwart of Baltimore's political scene and the city's first black mayor, died yesterday. He was 84.

Burns died of kidney failure in the geriatric care facility of Baltimore's Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, according to broadcast reports.

"He really epitomized that hardworking, roll-up-your-sleeves . . . attitude that made him such a great mayor and great councilman," Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley told WMAR-TV.

Burns was president of the Baltimore City Council when then-Mayor William Donald Schaefer was elected governor in 1986. Burns was appointed to fill out Schaefer's term, becoming the city's first black mayor.

After serving 11 months, Burns was defeated by Kurt L. Schmoke in the 1987 Democratic primary. Schmoke was Baltimore's first elected black mayor.

"Even though we were competitors for the mayor's position, I had a tremendous respect for him," Schmoke said. "He built an organization in East Baltimore that not only won elections but really provided a lot of public services for people."

© 2003 The Washington Post Company