Ballou High School Could Be Renamed to Honor Marion Barry | NBC4 Washington
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Ballou High School Could Be Renamed to Honor Marion Barry

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    There's a proposal to change the name of Ballou High School in D.C. to honor the late Marion Barry. But not everyone agrees with the plan. News4's Tom Sherwood reports. (Published Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2015)

    It's been one year since the death of Marion Barry, and District of Columbia officials are closer to deciding how the District will commemorate the former four-term mayor and Ward 8 Councilmember.

    Mayor Muriel Bowser announced on Monday several recommendations for how to honor Barry, including:

    • commissioning a bust or statue in front of the John A. Wilson Building,
    • renaming Good Hope Road,
    • renaming Frank W. Ballou Senior High School and
    • naming the new student center at the University of the District of Columbia.

    A statement from Bowser's office said a commission narrowed down the final recommendations from a list of 30. They were developed based on input from the general public.

    "Sometime after Martin had a dream and before President Obama gave us hope, Marion Barry provided opportunity," Bowser said in a statement. "And with these recommendations we will take the first step to rename Good Hope Road after Marion connecting him with Martin in the heart of Ward 8."

    The recommendations were revealed at a reception Monday evening in Southeast D.C., which Barry's widow, Cora Masters Barry, and other friends, relatives and former colleagues attended.

    Cora Masters Barry thanked officials for their efforts to honor her late husband. 

    "When he died, he may have been the Councilmember from Ward 8, but he was mayor for life," she said to applause. 

    Ballou High, with an award-winning school band, is a source of community pride in Southeast D.C., and that pride extends to the school's name. Frank Washington Ballou was a school superintendent from the 1920s until the 1940s.

    At Ballou High on Tuesday, none of the parents nor students News4 talked with wanted the school's name to change.

    "I think that they shouldn't change it because this is a historical school," one student said.

    School rules say a person must be dead two years before a school is renamed, but the mayor and D.C. Council can override that. It's unclear when or if they will.