Politics

Barry Lauded for Bravery, Passion in Civil Rights

In this July 6, 2009 file photo, former District of Columbia Mayor Marion Barry attends a news conference on the steps of Washington's city hall. Barry was famously caught on videotape smoking crack cocaine in 1990 in an FBI sting. After six months in prison, he was released and won a seat on the city council. He was re-elected to a fourth term as mayor in 1994.  (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)
In this July 6, 2009 file photo, former District of Columbia Mayor Marion Barry attends a news conference on the steps of Washington’s city hall. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

 

WASHINGTON (USA Today) — Marion Barry’s long history in the civil rights movement played a key role in changing politics for African Americans — from the farm fields of Mississippi to the streets of Washington, D.C. — veterans of the movement say.

“He helped to change politics in Mississippi and Washington, D.C, but (also) across the country,” said Dorie Ladner, 72, a civil rights veteran who worked in Mississippi.

Ladner cited the rise of black politicians in places such as Gary, Ind., and Newark, N.J., during the 1960s. Thanks to Barry, she said, “Blacks became more engaged in the political process.”

Barry, a District of Columbia councilman and the city’s former mayor, died Nov. 23. He was 78. His death came exactly two years after the death of fellow Mississippi civil rights icon Lawrence Guyot.

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