Public weighs in on how to honor ‘Mayor for Life’

WASHINGTON — A special commission is working on ways to permanently honor D.C.’s “Mayor For Life,” Marion Barry, in every quadrant of the city, and Wednesday night the group heard suggestions from the public.

The D.C. Commission to Commemorate and Recognize the Honorable Marion S. Barry, Jr. was appointed by Mayor Muriel Bowser in March.

“Washington is a city that’s defined by its monuments and its landmarks, starting with the founding father of this nation, George Washington,” said commission member Christopher Barry, the former Mayor’s son.  “And I see Marion Barry as being the founding father of Chocolate City.”

The proposals the commission is submitting to the public include placing a bust or statue of Barry either in front of or inside the Wilson Building, as well as renaming Ballou Senior High School in his honor.

Both ideas appeared popular among those who spoke at Wednesday’s meeting, held at the Southeast Tennis & Learning Center.

Several people suggested establishing a museum for Barry.

One woman wanted to make sure details about his life are added to the National Museum of African American History and Culture, which opens next year on the National Mall.

The commission is expected to submit final recommendations by the end of the year, so that proposals that need funding can be included in the city’s budget for the 2017 fiscal year.

“Whatever we do, we’re going to need community support,” said commission member Cora Masters Barry, the former mayor’s widow.

“Some of these proposals have to be legislated.  Some of these proposals have to be made into law.  Some of these proposals have financial ramifications (or) implications.”

Michelle Basch

Michelle Basch is a reporter and anchor at WTOP.

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