DC Residents Support Barry High School

first_imgThe late Marion S. Barry served as D.C. mayor and a D.C. Council member. (File Photo)The members of the D.C. Commission to Commemorate and Recognize the Honorable Marion S. Barry Jr., held a public hearing on Aug. 19 at the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center with 40 people attending. The commission is charged with recommending to D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D), who created the commission and appointed its members in February, ways to commemorate Barry, who served as mayor and on the D.C. Council. Barry died on Nov. 23, 2014.Among the commission’s four recommendations, the most popular was the re-naming of Ballou Senior High School in Ward 8 as “Marion S. Barry Senior High School.”“Re-naming Ballou High School is appropriate,” former D.C. Council member Sandy Allen, who represented Ward 8 from 1996-2005, said. “Barry loved Ballou and one of his greatest dreams was to see it flourish.”The commission also recommended re-naming the new student center of the University of the District of Columbia in Ward 3; erecting a statute or bust at the John A. Wilson Building in Ward 2; and re-naming Oxon Run Park in Ward 8 after Barry.Members of the commission at the hearing included widow Cora Masters Barry, son Marion C. Barry, former Mayor Sharon Pratt, Ward 8 businessman Phinis Jones, former D.C. Administrator and chairman Michael Rogers, former D.C. Council member Frank Smith, Bowser appointee Beverly Perry, Dr. Janette Hoston Harris, developer Herb Miller, arts activist Kay Kendall, and Bishop Glen Staples of the Temple of Praise.Barry served as mayor of the District from 1979-1991 and from 1995-1999. He served on the D.C. Council from 1975-1979 as an at-large member and representing Ward 8 from 1993-1995 and 2005-2014. During his later years on the D.C. Council, Barry worked to see that the funds were available to have Ballou modernized. He regularly visited the school and at one point, temporarily taught a chemistry class there.Akeshia Butler, who works at Ballou, thinks it is a great idea to re-name the school after Barry. “Changing the name of Ballou to Barry High School is something I support,” she said. “I know that no one at Ballou would have a problem with that. Besides, why should we keep the name of a man who was a segregationist?”Ballou is named after Dr. Frank Washington Ballou, who served as the superintendent of the D.C. public schools from 1920-1943, when the city’s schools were segregated by race as official policy. Ballou opened in 1958.Jones said that the Ballou name change was important to him and Mary Cuthbert, an influential Ward 8 advisory neighborhood commissioner, and former Barry chief of staff Bernadette Tolson, seconded him. Cuthbert said the Barry statute should be in front of the Wilson Building. Anti-violence activist Malik Farrakhan said that there should be more than one statute to honor Barry in the District. “We have statues of people who didn’t even like Black folks here,” he said.At the end of the testimony, Rogers updated the residents on the process moving forward on commemorating Barry. “The mayor charged us with getting a report to her in March 2016 but we have an earlier deadline,” he said. “We want to get it to her by the end of the year so that funds can be out in place for the fiscal year 2017 budget to re-name landmarks for Mr. Barry. We will have other meetings throughout the city on this.”Marion C. Barry showed up late to the hearing but thanked all who gave input on his father’s legacy. “We have monuments in this city to George Washington, the founding father of our country and we should have monuments to Marion Barry, the found[ing] father of ‘Chocolate City,”” he said.last_img

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