You could love Marion Barry. You could hate him. You could do both at the same time, and a lot of people in D.C. probably did. Or you could do something in between. But what you could never do was forget about him. Barry, who died early Sunday morning at 78, was one of the most electric personalities ever to set foot in the District (and yes, that includes all those people other voters around the country have sent here over the years); even 15 years after he served his last day as mayor, his influence on the city today, both in terms of its physical shape and its political culture, is virtually immeasurable.
Over the next few weeks (and probably for some time after that), D.C. and its inhabitants, lifelong or recently arrived, will grapple with Barry’s legacy and memory. For Washington City Paper, a publication whose entire existence has come after Barry first strode into power, his history and ours will always feel intertwined. The photos below, by staff photographer Darrow Montgomery, and the collection of remembrances by past and present City Paper writers and others, are our first look back at the story of a man the District won’t be the same without. —Mike Madden