Even in death, D.C.’s longest-serving chief executive officer continues to reach out to the city and its men, women and children whom he loved so much.
And on Saturday, March 3 at an 11 a.m. gathering that will undoubtedly draw hundreds, if not thousands to the grounds of the John A. Wilson Building, former Mayor Marion S. Barry Jr. will be saluted as an eight-foot bronze full-body statue of the “Mayor for Life” reaches toward the heavens.
Mayor Bowser, members of the D.C. Council, a host of dignitaries and those who knew him most intimately, including Cora Masters Barry, who heads the Legacy Foundation named after her former husband, will reflect on the man who served on the Council for 16 years and as mayor for four terms – always putting everyday, ordinary people at the top of his agenda.
Barry will become one of just a handful of African Americans with a statue erected in their honor in the District and will be the first locally-elected official so honored. But if you really want to know why Barry remains so beloved and what he still means to the people of Washington, D.C., just ask them.
Marion Barry helped those seeking to place their feet on solid ground by opening doors – providing gainful employment for youth and adults and securing educational opportunities, clean, safe and affordable homes and enviable contracts for local businesses. He gave Blacks a chance to shine – and many did just that, thanks to him.
Barry, like all of us, had his struggles and personal hurdles to overcome, but as the song goes, “We fall down, but we get up.” And throughout his life and as he manned the ship which confirmed his commitment to the District, Barry never stopped getting back up. And we all are the better for it.