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Allison Keyes

Former D.C. Mayor Marion Barry Dies

Nov 23, 2014

Marion Barry, the fiery Washington, D.C., politician who was famously re-elected after going to jail for crack cocaine possession, has died after months of battling health issues. He was 78.

The four-term mayor, who was still serving his third term on the D.C. Council, was famous for fighting for the District's disenfranchised, but won national notoriety after he was caught on FBI video with an ex-girlfriend and crack cocaine in 1990.

He was considered by many to be the district's most charismatic and controversial politician.

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Halloween is just around the corner.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SIMON: And seven in ten Americans are planning to get their screams this year through decorations, costumes or creeping into a haunted house. NPR's Allison Keyes visited some haunts and reports on the industry's multi-billion dollar battle for your souls.

ALLISON KEYES, BYLINE: It's dark. The people in front of you are cringing. And, hey, what's that stuff hanging from the ceiling?

(SOUNDBITE OF SCREAMING)

Thousands attended the formal dedication Sunday of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on the National Mall – an emotional day for those, including President Obama, who came to honor the slain civil rights leader.

As the choir from King's home church in Atlanta took the stage, people streamed into the park, just west of the King Memorial, carrying chairs, cardboard boxes to sit on, and their children. There were tears on the faces of some in the rainbow crowd, and big smiles on others such as Edna Smith Hector, who said she was proud to be there.

Emerging from the shadow of the Washington Monument, civil rights groups marched to the new Martin Luther King Jr. memorial on Saturday.

The rally, a rainbow crowd dominated by African-Americans, marched for jobs and economic justice on the eve of the new memorial's dedication.

Activist Rev. Al Sharpton said his National Action Network organized the march because the nation has ignored the plight of the chronically unemployed and because lawmakers haven't passed President Obama's jobs bill.