Sunday, March 12, 2023

Mayor for Life


Marion Shepilov Barry, Jr., was born in Itta Bena, Mississippi, on March 6, 1936.  He was a prominent figure in the civil rights movement of the 1960s, serving as the first chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.

With an eye on politics, he moved to Washington, DC, where he was first elected mayor in 1978.  He rose to national prominence as the first civil rights figure to serve as chief executive of a major metropolitan city.  When Jesse Jackson ran for president in 1984, Barry gave the presidential nomination speech at the Democratic National Convention.

Barry proved a popular mayor and was re-elected in 1982 and 1986.  Before he could run in 1990 however, his political career was sidetracked by an infamous undercover FBI sting operation, involving Barry, a prostitute, and crack cocaine.  He went to prison for six months, then resumed his political career, ultimately regaining the office of mayor.

Marion Barry died of cardiac arrest on November 23, 2014.  He was 78 years old.  He was laid to rest at Washington's Congressional Cemetery.

Rest in peace.

  • This blogger's grandfather worked for Barry's predecessor, Mayor Walter Washington.

  • The nickname "Mayor for Life" was coined by the Washington City Paper, an alternative weekly publication.

  • Barry was famous for his annual Thanksgiving turkey giveaways to DC's neediest families.

  • In 2014, Barry released his autobiography Mayor for Life: The Incredible Story of Marion Barry, Jr.  Pick up a copy from Amazon.

  • In 2010, Barry's life was chronicled in the documentary The Nine Lives of Marion Barry.  Check out the trailer on YouTube.

  • Want to see the footage that sent Barry to prison?  It's on YouTube as well.

No comments:

Post a Comment