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The Honorable Marion Barry

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Information about The Honorable Marion Barry

Profile image of The Honorable Marion Barry

Profession

Category:
PoliticalMakers
Occupation(s):
Mayor

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Burgundy
Favorite Food:
Seafood
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall, Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Caribbean
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
3/6/1936
Birth Location:
Itta Bena, Mississippi

Profession

Category:
PoliticalMakers
Occupation(s):
Mayor

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Burgundy
Favorite Food:
Seafood
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall, Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Caribbean
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
3/6/1936
Birth Location:
Itta Bena
See how The Honorable Marion Barry is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Marion Barry was born in Itta Bena, Mississippi on March 6, 1936. From an impoverished family, he went on to become a vigorous civil rights activist and served four terms as Mayor of the District of Columbia. Barry grew up in Memphis, where he attended Booker T. Washington High School. During the City's 1958 bus desegregation drive, Barry received his first taste of public confrontation and media notoriety. Subsequently, he abandoned his doctoral studies in Chemistry at the University of Tennessee to join the civil rights movement full-time. Barry was elected the first chairman of SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee) and moved to Washington, D.C. in 1965 to open a local chapter. He never left.

Barry quickly became a formidable politician in the nation's capital. In 1971, he was elected to serve on the city's first school board. Three years later, when Congress allowed local elections, Barry won a seat on the District of Columbia City Council. As the second elected mayor of Washington, D.C., Barry was known for building coalitions with marginalized populations, including African Americans, women and the LGBT community. Barry held that office for twelve years, until a misdemeanor drug conviction forced him to step down. After a brief hiatus, Barry made a triumphant return to political office when he won back a seat on the City Council. In 1994, enthusiastic supporters reelected Barry as mayor in a landslide victory. Barry resided in Washington, D.C. with his wife Cora.

Barry passed away on November 23, 2014 at age 78.

See how The Honorable Marion Barry is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Marion Barry interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Marion Barry's favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Marion Barry describes his mother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Marion Barry talks about his family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Marion Barry talks about losing touch with his father at an early age
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Marion Barry talks about his siblings and their families
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Marion Barry describes growing up in Itta Bena, Mississippi
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Marion Barry explains why he moved to Memphis as a child
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Marion Barry describes living in Memphis as a child
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Marion Barry talks about odd jobs he worked in his youth
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Marion Barry talks about how his personality changed as a youth
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Marion Barry talks about how Scouting influenced him as a youth
  • Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Marion Barry describes his educational experience
  • Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Marion Barry says his mother complained about her domestic work
  • Tape: 1 Story: 15 - Marion Barry talks about some of his friends from high school
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Marion Barry describes his leisure time during high school
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Marion Barry talks about his decision to attend LeMoyne College
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Marion Barry says his family supported his decision to attend college
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Marion Barry recalls becoming an activist at LeMoyne College
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Marion Barry describes the segregation in Memphis, Tennesse during the 1940s and 1950s
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Marion Barry is unsure why he became active at LeMoyne College
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Marion Barry describes speaking at a rally headed by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Marion Barry talks about his admiration for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Marion Barry talks about the founding of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Marion Barry describes working for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee
  • Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Marion Barry discusses the philosophy and strategies of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Marion Barry gives his first impression of Washington, D.C. on his arrival in 1965
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Marion Barry talks about his social work with African American youth in Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Marion Barry talks about his work as president of Washington, D.C.'s Board of Education
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Marion Barry talks about making social improvements while serving on the City Council of Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Marion Barry talks about appointing minorities to city government positions when he was mayor of Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Marion Barry explains why he ran for the Washington, D.C. school board
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Marion Barry says that his mathematical aptitude and good memory helped him as a politician
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Marion Barry describes how his belief in the political system changed over time
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Marion Barry talks about being shot in the chest in 1977
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Marion Barry talks about his past endorsements from the 'Washington Post'
  • Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Marion Barry describes his first successful mayoral campaign
  • Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Marion Barry explains that his politics are based on empowerment
  • Tape: 3 Story: 13 - Marion Barry talks about his relationship with the black middle class
  • Tape: 3 Story: 14 - Marion Barry talks about coping with the difficult nature of political office
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Marion Barry talks about his relationship with white voters
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Marion Barry talks about the influence of African American politicians
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Marion Barry shares some regrets about his time as Mayor of Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Marion Barry discusses Washington D.C's relationship with the federal government
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Marion Barry says he never stopped working hard as Mayor of Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Marion Barry discusses the Ivanhoe Donaldson embezzlement scandal
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Marion Barry reflects on sex and drug scandals during his time as Mayor of Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Marion Barry describes how incarceration helped him overcome his drug problems and continue in politics
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Marion Barry talks about his last term as Mayor of Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Marion Barry talks about his future career plans
  • Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Marion Barry discusses political and economic empowerment for African Americans
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Marion Barry talks about his hopes and concerns for the black community
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Marion Barry does not regret his decision not to pursue a career in science
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Marion Barry disagrees with those who have called him an embarrassment
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Marion Barry sympathizes with President Bill Clinton
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Marion Barry discusses his legacy
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Marion Barry says what it means to be black in America
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Marion Barry explains the uniqueness of African Americans
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Marion Barry explains why he favors reparations for slavery
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Marion Barry talks about the importance of the HistoryMakers project
  • Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Photo - Marion Barry at his mayoral inauguration parade in Washington D.C., January, 1979
  • Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Photo - Marion Barry's mother, Mattie Cummings, 1994
  • Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Photo - A young Marion Barry supporter, 1992-1994
  • Tape: 5 Story: 13 - Photo - Marion Barry in a Martin Luther King Day parade, Washington, D.C., January, 1993
  • Tape: 5 Story: 14 - Photo - Marion Barry at a rally in Nigeria, 1992-1993
  • Tape: 5 Story: 15 - Photo - Marion Barry with firefighters at his city council inauguration, Washington, D.C., January, 1993
  • Tape: 5 Story: 16 - Photo - Marion Barry with son Christopher and friends
  • Tape: 5 Story: 17 - Photo - Marion Barry with fellow city council members, Washington, D.C., January, 1993
  • Tape: 5 Story: 18 - Photo - Marion Barry with his son Christopher with rap artist M.C. Hammer, ca. 1993
  • Tape: 5 Story: 19 - Photo - Marion Barry, his wife, Cora, and First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton at the White House, Washington, D.C., 1994
  • Tape: 5 Story: 20 - Photo - Marion Barry with President Bill Clinton at the White House, Washington, D.C., 1993
  • Tape: 5 Story: 21 - Photo - Marion Barry meeting with local businessmen Washington, D.C., 1996
  • Tape: 5 Story: 22 - Photo - Collage made by a neighborhood group of Marion Barry with his son, Christopher Barry, Washington, D.C., ca. 1995
  • Tape: 5 Story: 23 - Photo - Marion Barry, Jerry Rawlings, President of Ghana, and their spouses, Washington, D.C., 1997
  • Tape: 5 Story: 24 - Photo - Marion Barry shaking hands with Judge Eugene Hamilton at his mayoral inauguration breakfast, Washington, D.C., 1995
  • Tape: 5 Story: 25 - Photo - Marion Barry presenting Dorothy Height of the National Council of Negro Women with a key to the city, Washington, D.C., 1996
  • Tape: 5 Story: 26 - Photo - Dorothy Height speaking at the opening of the National Council of Negro Women headquarters, Washington, D.C., 1996
  • Tape: 5 Story: 27 - Photo - Marion Barry and his wife attend a luncheon at the South African Embassy with Nelson Mandela, Washington, D.C., 1994
  • Tape: 5 Story: 28 - Photo - Marion Barry is sworn in as a member of the City Council, Washington, D.C., January, 1993
  • Tape: 5 Story: 29 - Photo - Marion Barry interviewed by radio host Tom Joyner, 1996
  • Tape: 5 Story: 30 - Photo - Marion Barry being greeted during his visit to the Ivory Coast, 1997
  • Tape: 5 Story: 31 - Photo - Marion Barry being greeted during his visit to Guinea, 1997
  • Tape: 5 Story: 32 - Photo - Marion Barry speaks while his mother, Mattie Cummings, and sister Gloria look on, 1995