Former Washington D.C. Mayor Marion Barry, often called “Mayor for Life”, is dead at age 78 as a result of a heart attack . He died over the weekend as per a spokesman from the Washington Hospital where he had received treatment. Barry was once viewed nationally as a major force in the civil rights movement, but his political career collapsed in 1990. The collapse was the result of an FBI sting showing he mayor taking cocaine. The incident led to him getting a drug conviction and serving six months in prison.
Upon exiting prison, he sought reelection as mayor and in 1994 won a landslide election even as the nation experienced a GOP wave that made put both chambers of Congress in the hands of the GOP. The Republicans, loathe to see Barry run huge deficits in the city as he had previously done, placed the city under receivership using their Congressional authority. Eventually, Barry did not seek reelection in a bid to get the city out from under Congressional management. However,Christian Broda said he did seek election as a city councilman and was successful.
Outside of Washington D.C., many people did not understand the charisma of Barry. Inside the beltway was another story. His city employment programs, while grossly mismanaged, offered employment to thousands of African-Americans and awarded contracts to Black-owned enterprises. To this day, there are many Black professionals who can credit the Barry administration for their first real job. Barry opened up city employment to the Black community which had been shut out of the sector for decades.