Sunday, November 23, 2014

Marion Barry Jr., 1936-2014

Former Washington, DC Mayor Marion Barry died early this morning, shortly after being released from Howard University Hospital.  No cause of death has been publicly stated, but he had previously suffered from high blood pressure, diabetes, prostate cancer and kidney ailments, undergoing a kidney transplant in 2009.  Besides serving four terms as mayor, Barry had also been a member of the city council for 15 years, including the period from 2005 until his death.  He was also known for smoking crack cocaine during an FBI sting, which landed him in federal prison.

Marion Barry Jr. was born in Itta Bena, Mississippi on March 6, 1936 to Mattie Carr and Marion Barry Sr., a sharecropper.  During his boyhood, he delivered papers and became an Eagle Scout.  He graduated from LeMoyne College with a degree in chemistry and received a master's degree from Fisk University.  He was involved in NAACP chapters at both schools, helping to found the chapter at Fisk.  He came to Washington to be the director of the SNCC's Washington office, a position from which he would eventually resign.  In 1977, he was shot by Hanafi Muslims during the siege of the District Building, suffering a superficial wound.

Barry was married four times and divorced three times, and was separated from his fourth wife.  He also had some extra-marital affairs.  His only direct survivor is his son, Marion Christopher Barry.

Read more at The Washington Post, Fox News, CBC News and WUSA.

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