I only met Marion Barry once, a lunch meeting at a downtown Washington, DC eatery in 2006. He had just finished lunch with an attractive woman, showed her to the door and then turned heels without missing a beat for lunch number two. He displayed all the charm and political savvy one had heard of and imagined. His goal, in dealing with one of what have been an endless progression of Washington Post reporters and editors he had met–was to show me that he was nobody’s fool. He understood politics, he understood nuance and human nature. I knew and had read all of the backstory of his life — but I was impressed.
The Washington Post obituary by Bart Barnes:
Marion Barry Jr., the Mississippi sharecropper’s son and civil rights activist who served three terms as mayor of the District of Columbia, survived a drug arrest and jail sentence, and then came back to win a fourth term as the city’s chief executive, died around midnight Saturday at United Medical Center in Washington. He was 78. [read more]