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Thousands Mourn Marion Barry, DC's 'Mayor for Life'

Saturday, 06 Dec 2014 08:09 AM

Local and national political leaders, prominent clergy and ordinary Washingtonians who got their first jobs as a result of Marion Barry's programs were among the thousands who gathered Saturday to say goodbye to the man dubbed "Mayor for Life."

Barry died Nov. 23 at age 78. He served four terms as mayor and leaves a legacy as the most famous, the most beloved and the most divisive local leader in four decades of District of Columbia self-rule.

He was credited with expanding economic opportunity for the city's black majority, and helping to revitalize downtown Washington. He also had well-documented personal struggles, culminating in a 1990 arrest for smoking crack cocaine. He served six months in prison but was later elected to his fourth term for a remarkable comeback.

"Marion Barry was an icon. He was the consummate politician. He was an elder statesman. He was a fierce fighter for the dispossessed," said the Rev. Willie Wilson, a southeast Washington pastor and one of several clergy who ministered to Barry over the years.

More than two dozen people spoke at the 4 ½-hour service at the Washington Convention Center. The convention hall had seating for roughly 15,000 people, but it never appeared more than half full. A burial service at Congressional Cemetery was private.

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Local and national political leaders, prominent clergy and ordinary Washingtonians who got their first jobs as a result of Marion Barry's programs were among the thousands who gathered Saturday to say goodbye to the man dubbed Mayor for Life. Barry died Nov. 23 at age 78....
dc, marion, barry, funeral, jackson
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2014-09-06
Saturday, 06 Dec 2014 08:09 AM
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