Five Ways to Learn More About Marion Barry

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Five Ways to Learn More About Marion Barry

As the District prepares to unveil the Marion Barry Jr. Commemorative Bronze Statue in the Wilson Building, some Washingtonians not know many of the reasons Barry was loved by so many. In anticipation of this milestone, the Library is highlighting some of the ways people can learn more about Marion Barry’s life and legacy.
 
"Mayor for Life: The Incredible Story of Marion Barry, Jr.
Marion Barry, Jr. and Omar Tyree.
Four-time mayor of Washington, DC, Marion Barry, Jr. tells his shocking and courageous life story, beginning in the cotton fields in Mississippi to the executive offices of one of the most powerful cities in the world. Known nationally as the disgraced mayor caught on camera smoking crack cocaine in a downtown hotel room with a mistress, Marion Barry Jr. has led a controversial career. This provocative, captivating narrative follows the Civil Rights activist, going back to his Mississippi roots, his Memphis upbringing, and his academic school days, up through his college years and move to Washington, DC, where he became actively involved in Civil Rights, community activism, and bold politics. In “Mayor for Life,” Marion Barry, Jr. tells all--including the story of his campaigns for mayor of Washington, his ultimate rise to power, his personal struggles and downfalls, and the night of embarrassment, followed by his term in federal prison and ultimately a victorious fourth term as mayor. From the man who, despite the setbacks, boldly served the community of Washington, DC. This is his full story of courage, empowerment, hope, tragedy, triumph, and inspiration.
 
"The Nine Lives of Marion Barry"
HBO Documentary Films in association with Cactus Three; a Flor Films production;
Dana Flor and Toby Oppenheimer
Many people remember Marion Barry as the philandering, drug-addled mayor of the nation's capital. He's the poster boy for corruption, a pariah. Yet to others, Marion Barry is a folk hero who has dominated Washington, D.C. city politics for over 40 years. Today, Barry is once again in the political limelight. Who is Marion Barry, really? A hero? A scoundrel? For the first time, The Nine Lives of Marion Barry reveals the complete unforgettable story.
 
"The Last of the Black Emperors: The Hollow Comeback of Marion Barry in the New Age of Black Leaders"
Jonetta Rose Barras; photos by Darrow Montgomery.
The 1990 FBI videotape of Washington, D.C. mayor Marion Barry smoking crack transfixed television viewers nationwide. Shouting now-notorious obscenities at the woman who helped agents trap him, Barry was publicly disgraced, his personal and political life apparently wrecked. But in 1994, following his release from federal prison, Barry was elected once more to serve as mayor of the nation's capital. How did Barry pull off his political resurrection? Why are African-Americans so enamored of him? And why, despite his return to power, has Barry's story so dramatically lost promise? In “The Last of the Black Emperors,” author Jonetta Rose Barras explains the many paradoxes of Marion Barry's career, and documents the growth of his racial and political identities parallel with those of his largely black constituency.
 
"Chocolate City: A History of Race and Democracy in the Nation's Capital"
Chris Myers Asch and George Derek Musgrove
Monumental in scope and vividly detailed, Chocolate City tells the tumultuous, four-century story of race and democracy in our nation's capital. Emblematic of the ongoing tensions between America's expansive democratic promises and its enduring racial realities, Washington often has served as a national battleground for contentious issues, including slavery, segregation, civil rights, the drug war, and gentrification. But D.C. is more than just a seat of government, and authors Chris Myers Asch and George Derek Musgrove also highlight the city's rich history of local activism as Washingtonians of all races have struggled to make their voices heard in an undemocratic city where residents lack full political rights.
 
"Dream City: Race, Power, and the Decline of Washington, D.C."
Harry Jaffe and Tom Sherwood
With a new afterword covering the two decades since its first publication, two of Washington, D.C.'s most respected journalists expose one of America's most tragic ironies: how the nation's capital, often a gleaming symbol of peace and hope, is the setting for vicious contradictions and devastating conflicts over race, class, and power. Jaffe and Sherwood have chillingly chronicled the descent of the District of Columbia-congressional hearings, gangland murders, the establishment of home rule and the inside story of Marion Barry's enigmatic dynasty and disgrace Now their afterword narrates the District's transformation in the last twenty years. New residents have helped bring developments, restaurants, and businesses to reviving neighborhoods. The authors cover the rise and fall of Mayors Adrian Fenty and Vince Gray, how new corruption charges are taking down politicians and businessmen, and how a fading Barry is still a player. The "city behind the monuments" remains flawed and polarized, but its revival is turning it into a distinct world capital - almost a dream city.
 
To learn about Marion Barry from people who knew and worked with him, the Library is co-hosting a symposium, "Fire and Fiery: The Social, Political, and Economic Impact of the Marion Barry Legacy Today and Tomorrow" on February 28. To reserve a free ticket, click here
 
To reserve a seat for the statue dedication on March, 3, click here.