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Mother Of Serviceman Killed In Berlin To Ride In Dearborn Parade

May 22, 1986

DETROIT (AP) _ The mother of an American soldier killed in the April terrorist bombing of a West Berlin disco said she will ride in Dearborn’s Memorial Day parade despite controversy surrounding the suburb’s residents-only parks law.

Alice Beecham of Detroit, mother of Army Sgt. Kenneth T. Ford, has agreed to ride in the parade as a dignitary.

She said she will attend to honor her 21-year-old son, and that her attendance has nothing to do with the predominantly white suburb’s ban on non- residents using most of its parks. The policy has been assailed by civil rights groups as racist.

Mrs. Beecham is black.

″I’m going for a different purpose,″ she said. ″It doesn’t have anything to do with the parks. I don’t even want to connect them together.″

The American Civil Liberties Union and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People have sued to block the ordinance, saying the ban passed by Dearborn voters last November is designed to keep blacks out.

That case is pending.

Colin McGee, parade chairman, said Mrs. Beechman was asked to ride in the parade because her son is one of the most recent servicemen to die for his country.

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