Marion S. Barry Jr: “Mayor for Life”

Story by Terrance McMichael & Delondre Morton, FNN Collegiate Bureau.  Photo by

April 23, 2014. Marion Barry has influenced my life because he has made mistakes that I don't want to make. He  took his education seriously, and he has done a lot for our city. He was loved by his family and his voters. He was well respected by fellow politicians. Here is the reason why….

Marion Barry was born in Mississippi on March 6,1936. Marion’s father worked as a sharecropper and passed away when he was only four years old. After that Marion and his mother moved to Memphis. She got remarried and she raised nine children. Marion had to get multiple jobs in order to help his mother with the family.

Marion Barry applied his work ethic to his education and earned a bachelor’s degree in 1958 from Le Moyne College.  He got his master’s degree in organic chemistry from Fisk University. Marion was well educated and passionate about the civil rights movement. He joined the Students Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). He went to Washington D.C. to launch a local chapter.  

While he was an at large city council member, he ran for mayor and won in 1978, He campaigned for mayor four more times and he won, until he ran into trouble in 1990. Rumors were spread across the United States stating that he was using drugs. He was caught on tape using crack cocaine in 1990. He was sentenced to jail for six months. Once he came out of jail he ran for mayor once more, and then he ran for city council for the rest of his life. A repeated quote from the citizens in Washington DC “He may not be perfect, he is perfect for DC.” That quote stuck with him for the rest his life.

Mr. Barry was known for helping lots of young people get summer jobs. His name is known around the world.

In 1998 he retired but returned in 2002 to serve a city councilman for Ward 8. Marion Barry has a son and his name is Marion Christopher Barry. He told him “make sure you take care of the world for me in case I die.” He also told The New York Times, “I serve as an inspiration for people that are going through a lot of things”.            

Terrance McMichael and Delondre Morton are 9th grade scholars at Friendship Collegiate Academy.