Commission for Marion Barry memorials sparks debate

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- Marion Barry's history as one of D.C.'s most impactful and controversial public servants is well documented.

But a new city-appointed commission is working to further cement his legacy in the District by creating new ways to memorialize him.

The commission has proposed four memorials to honor the late mayor, including renaming the student center at UDC, Ballou Senior High School and Oxon Run Park all after Barry. They've also floated the idea of commissioning a statue of the Mayor for Life in or around D.C. City Hall.

"I think they're great, especially naming Ballou High School after him and putting a statue in front of the Wilson Building," Cora Masters Barry, Barry's Widow, said.   

But in death, just as he was in life, Barry continues to be controversial. Many people WUSA9 spoke with didn't want to see a statue or other memorials for Barry.

"I would prefer not to see a statue of Marion Barry. I don't respect him as someone that my children should look up to," one woman said. 

Many in Ward 8 already look up to him. Betty Scippo, a Ward 8 resident, says the city should capitalize on that respect by placing memorials of Barry in the city's troubled neighborhoods.

"He would be a great example for people right in that area," Scippo said. "The people's will respect it more. and the parents might say ok they giving us something and the attitude and the mindset might change."

Others are on the fence, seeing Barry as part success story, part cautionary tale.

"I'd rather see a statue of him next to a rehab facility or some place that symbolizes redemption," the woman said.  

The commission is expected to their final recommendations on the sort of memorials and their locations by the end of the year.

Like this story? Like WUSA9 on Facebook.

RELATED STORIES:

Christopher Barry gets probation for bank outburst

Marion Barry mural unveiled in DC


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment