Marion Shepilov Barry, Jr. (born March 6, 1936) is an American Democratic politician who is currently serving as a member of the Council of the District of Columbia, representing DC's Ward 8. Barry served as the second elected mayor of the District of Columbia from 1979 to 1991, and again as the fourth mayor from 1995 to 1999. In addition to his current term, Barry also served two other tenures on the D.C. Council, as an At-Large member from 1975–79, and as Ward 8 representative from 1992–95. In the 1960s he was involved in the Civil Rights Movement, serving as the first president of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).
Barry came to national prominence as mayor of the national capital, the first prominent civil-rights activist to become chief executive of a major American city; he gave the presidential nomination speech for Jesse Jackson at the 1984 Democratic National Convention. His celebrity transformed into international notoriety in January 1990, when Barry was videotaped smoking crack cocaine and arrested by FBI officials on drug charges. The arrest and subsequent trial precluded Barry seeking re-election, and Barry served six months in a federal prison. After his release, however, he was elected to the D.C. city council in 1992 and ultimately returned to the mayoralty in 1994, serving from 1995 to 1999.
Despite his history of political and legal controversies (which continues to the present day), Barry remains a figure of enormous popularity and influence on the local political scene of Washington D.C. The alternative weekly Washington City Paper nicknamed him "Mayor-for-Life," a designation that remained long after Barry left the mayoralty. The Washington Post has stated that "To understand the District of Columbia, one must understand Marion Barry."