Community Advocate, Civil Rights Activist and Former DC Mayor, Marion Barry held a book signing event on Tuesday at the downtown Barnes and Noble Bookstore. The event was your standard book signing event but the Barnes and Noble staff did a wonderful job of keeping the crowds of people organized and moving. As people trickled in for the 6PM signing many of them were anxious to meet with the former Mayor. One lady I spoke to was so excited that she had actually left her office earlier that day just to purchase her copy of the book and return to work; she stated how she wanted to be certain that her book was signed. Another young lady had purchased multiple copies for herself, her grandmother and mother.
As time progressed on past the hour, crowds of patrons poured into the second level of the bookstore. While waiting, I was drawn into several different conversations with people from all around the DC metro area. I spoke with one woman from the Eastern Shores of Maryland. She told me how she had traveled across the Bay bridge with her great grandnephew just to bring him to meet the illustrious Mayor. She boasted about how they’d been practicing a firm handshake and she even instructed her nephew (who appeared to be maybe 5 or 6 years of age) to “give her the Barry-shake, y’know the one you’re going to give Mr. Barry.”
When the former Mayor finally arrived, one by one supporters lined up eager to shower him with Thank yous and celebrate the release of his latest book. I linked up with a few supporters from the event who graciously shared their thoughts on the Mayor and why they purchased his book.
“I came to get the book because I believe he has transformed DC and he is really a leading African-American figure in this country. I admire the work that he has done for everybody and I feel like he has placed people before himself. He is truly an inspirational figure for myself and I know for many others in Washington, DC and afar.”
“I grew up in DC, born and raised in North East so he’s been my “Mayor for Life”, basically. Plus my Aunt and everybody wanted the book so they sent me down here to get them.”
“I purchased the book because he is the “Mayor for Life”, you have to have his book. A book about the person who basically helped grow this city. I love him, and people need to know what he did for the people of Washington, DC. Regardless, if it was black, white or whatever; it didn’t make a difference, he was always there for the people. Washington, DC stands for the people and he stood for the people. Regardless of what the situation was he was there for you. [Longtime DC resident] I’m from NW Washington, DC and I remember when he was with his first wife, Mary Treadwell. My family was apart of the PRIDE program and worked with him on his campaign.”
“I’ve been in the city [Washington, DC] for 35 years and I think Marion Barry is one of the greatest politicians of my lifetime.”
Everyone I had spoken to shared the same sentiments of admiration and gratitude for the impact Mayor Marion Barry had made, not only in their lives as individuals but within their communities as a whole. I strongly believe that the greatness of a city is found in its people and the people are a reflection of their leadership.
The people have spoken and Mayor Marion Barry is indeed DC’s “Mayor For life.”