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Statue honoring former Mayor Marion Barry revealed in D.C.

The new “Mayor for Life” statue is one of only three full-body statues in the city of African Americans

Photo by Carolyn Van Houten/The Washington Post via Getty Images

This Saturday, in front of the John A. Wilson Building, former D.C. “Mayor For Life” Marion Barry once again made history. An 8-foot-tall, bronze statue of Barry by Maryland-based sculptor Steven Weitzman was revealed. According to the Washington Post, this is the first permanent public honor the District has given Barry and one of only three full-body statues in the city of African Americans.

Barry served as mayor for four terms and was on the D.C. Council for 16 years. In 2015, Bowser named a summer jobs program after him. The newly debuted statue cost $300,000, commissioned by the Executive Office of the Mayor (EOM) in partnership with the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities (DCCAH) and the Marion Barry Commission.

At the unveiling event, Mayor Muriel Bowser said, “Some time after Martin Luther King had a dream, and before Barack Obama brought us hope, it was Marion Barry who brought opportunity to Washington, D.C. ... He taught us that as long as you’re waking up on this Earth, there can be a comeback.”

Not everyone was pleased by the statue, though. Former D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams said at an event in George Washington University, “The man flew the city into the side of a mountain and he gets a statue. I rebuilt the city—come on.”

He later added, “He deserves one because of his work in civil rights. He stood for the reversal of 60 years of discrimination at the federal level and at the city level ... and stood for self determination for the city.”

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Cora Masters Barry, former First Lady of Washington, D.C., holds one of the hands of the statue of Mayor Marion Barry.
Photo by Carolyn Van Houten/The Washington Post via Getty Images
Photo via Victoria Pickering

Still ‘bigger than life’: D.C. unveils bronze statue honoring former mayor Marion Barry [The Washington Post]