2 Years After His Death, Marion Barry’s Gravesite Gets Headstone

Two years after the death of longtime D.C. mayor Marion Barry, his grave site has a headstone.

A large, private ceremony at Congressional Cemetery on Wednesday drew family, friends and city leaders. Barry died Nov. 23, 2014 at age 78.

The grave site of the "Mayor for Life" now has a black stone memorial that pays tribute to Barry's four terms as mayor, his years on the D.C. Council and his civil rights background.

The black stone memorial includes an image of Barry and the words "Mayor for life, beloved forever."

This Bible verse Mark 9:35 is inscribed: "If any man desires to be first, the same shall be last of all and servant of all."

And Maya Angelou is credited with these words: "Marion Barry changed America with his unmitigated gall to stand up in the ashes of where he had fallen and come back to win."

Barry's widow, Cora Masters Barry, said at the memorial ceremony that family members wanted the headstone to be "something that would give people the essence of Marion long after everyone standing here are gone. I wasn't thinking about today. I was thinking about a hundred years from today."

Barry was remembered for his public contributions and personal troubles, including drug use.

"Marion Barry was the people's mayor," Mayor Muriel Bowser said. "He wasn't perfect -- none of us are."

Bowser previously named the city's summer jobs program after Barry, who started it. Many Washingtonians love Barry for giving them opportunities, Bowser said.

"Not a week goes by in any neighborhood across the District of Columbia that somebody will tell me, 'You know, Marion Barry gave me my first job,'" she said.

A spokeswoman for Barry's family, Raymone Bain, said the process of marking Barry's grave took longer than expected in part because the original design had to be scrapped for not conforming to the cemetery's requirements. Christopher Barry's death was another setback.

Cemetery officials said they expect more visitors now that the headstone is in place.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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