A bronze statue dedicated to the former crack-smoking Democratic mayor of Washington, D.C., Marion Barry, has been erected just blocks from the White House.
Barry, who served two terms as city mayor from1979 to 1991 and again from 1995 to 1999, as well as a city councilman, had a statue unveiled in his honor last Saturday by the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities next to the Washington City Council building, located just blocks from the White House.
The former mayor was known for his run-ins with the law and attracted national attention in 1991 when the FBI caught him under a sting operation smoking crack cocaine with his girlfriend, for which he consequently went to prison.
However, following his release from prison, he ran again in 1994 for the mayorship and won, securing himself another four-year term.
He would continue to court controversy amid allegations of corruption, and also attracted criticism after being caught making racist statements against Asian people.
“We’ve got to do something about these Asians coming in, opening up businesses, those dirty shops,” he was caught saying in 2012. “They ought to go, I’ll just say that right now, you know.”
Barry died in November 2014 after experiencing a heart attack. He has previously been dubbed the city’s honorary “mayor for life.”
“Sometime after Martin Luther King had a dream, and before President Barack Obama gave us hope, it was Marion Barry that brought opportunity to Washington, D.C.,” said current Democratic mayor Muriel Bowser. “He embodied the spirit of Washington.”