Former D.C. Mayor Marion Barry dies at 78, leaves complicated legacy

barry2           Former D.C. Mayor Marion Barry, who rose from the sharecroppers’ shacks of Itta Bena, Mississippi, to the executive suite of the District’s City Hall and overcame an embarrassing public drug arrest while in office to return as D.C. mayor and council member, died early Sunday. He was 78. No matter what you think of Washington D.C.’s ‘Mayor for Life’ Marion Barry, you have to admit he has made things interesting over the years.  For those of you who don’t know him, he was the second elected mayor of Washington D.C. from 1979 to 1991. After a sting operation caught him smoking crack in a hotel room, Barry served six months in a federal prison, but was elected to the D.C. city council in 1992 and was reelected mayor in 1994. Most recently, Barry again served on the city council. Other things about Barry: He earned a Masters of Science in organic chemistry from Fisk University Despite a career in elected office that spanned the history of home rule in the District, the indelible image of Mr. Barry was crafted on the night of Jan. 18, 1990, when FBI agents and D.C. police officers set up a sting at the Vista International Hotel on Thomas Circle. The grainy videotaped image of Mr. Barry smoking crack cocaine became emblematic of the violent drug epidemic that was ravaging the District and urban America. barry1But while his arrest and his public declaration that he had been set up disgraced and defined Marion Barry for the nation, his role in the District as the pre-eminent political leader, deal-maker and champion of the underclass continued to thrive. In the hallways of public housing, in church pulpits, in business corridors and in school auditoriums, the former civil rights activist remained beloved as an advocate of the “last, the least and the lost” and of the city’s continuing struggle for self-determination. barry3       “During his decades in elected office in D.C., he put in place historic programs to lift working people out of poverty, expand opportunity, and begin to make real the promise of home rule,” President Obama said in a statement. The sentiment was echoed by the District’s mayor, who ordered flags to be lowered at city government buildings in Mr. Barry's honor.   He loved the District of Columbia, and so many Washingtonians loved him,

About MimisThoughts

My close family call me Mimi, you will too. A 53 year old black female with many thoughts and opinions. I am vocal and passionate. I was raised old school and am proud to know most children that I had any influence over are carrying on the right way. 'Please, Thank You, Yes Ma'am, No Sir'. Divorced a couple times and no children of my own. I have lived a full and diverse life. Well educated and very liberal a Baptist raised in the church. I hope my posts, information, and opinions in my blog inspire you to open up a conversation. Pass along the usually hidden unheard of and unknown facts of how life is being lived today. Welcome to my thoughts....
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