Thursday, December 04, 2014

Marion Barry Dies and the Obituaries Don't Mention His Anti Freeway Role!

Marion Barry dies.  March 6, 1936-November 23, 2014.


Numerous obituaries, such as the following from The Washington Post- and none mention his role in stopping Washington, D.C.'s freeway system!
D.C. debut
In 1965, Mr. Barry arrived in Washington to direct activities for the SNCC. This came at a critical juncture in D.C. race relations.

Nationally, the civil rights movement was heating up. There had been riots in the black enclaves of several urban centers, and more were to come. In Washington, the post-World War II flight of whites to the suburbs had given the city a population that was majority African American. But the local government was dominated by whites and subject to the oversight of white-dominated congressional committees. There was no home rule.

The stage was set for Mr. Barry’s D.C. political debut. Clad in a dashiki shirt and speaking in inflammatory rhetoric, he established himself as a visible presence with a forceful voice that could not easily be ignored.
In January 1966, he led a one-day bus “mancott” to protest a fare increase requested by D.C. Transit. He organized a “Free D.C. Movement” to press for home rule. He called D.C. police “an occupation army.” In 1969, he tore up a parking ticket, struck the officer who had placed it on his windshield and was charged with assault. The case ended with a hung jury.
Rep. John L. McMillan (D-S.C.), the chairman of the House Committee on the District of Columbia and one of the most influential men in Washington, was among the targets of his rhetoric. “The citizens of the District of Columbia,” Mr. Barry declared, “are tired of living on the McMillan plantation.”

In the winter of 1967, Mr. Barry resigned as director of SNCC’s Washington office, declaring, “Now we must concentrate on control — economic and political power.”
With financial support from the U.S. Department of Labor, he organized and directed a group known as Pride Inc., which put more than 1,000 inner-city youths to work clearing alleys of trash and debris, killing rats — and later running gas stations and a landscaping business and managing an apartment building.

In 1971, Mr. Barry won his first election for citywide office, defeating the chairman of the school board, Anita F. Allen, for an at-large seat on the board.

None of the obituaries or even his wikipedia bio mention his involvement with the doctrinaire anti-freeway group ECTC.

CHAIRMAN: R.H. Booker  VICE CHAIRMEN Marion Barry, Jr. - Charles I. Cassell  Fed Heutte - Johnie D. Wilson  SECRETARIAL COMMITTEE: Mary Alice Brown, Chairman- Ann Heutte - Angela Rooney - LEGAL COUNSEL Simon L. Cain TREASURER: Mrs. Leon Brooks PLANNING CONSULTANTS: 2MJQ  Black Advocacy Planners  SPEAKERS BUREAU: Louis M. Florenzo, Chairman  PUBLICITY DIRECTOR: Sammie Abdullah Abbott

It is as if that movement is not being seen as part of a legitimate protest, but rather a manipulation.

Indeed.  The anti freeway protests had some legitimate targeting- such as the earlier planning as the I-66 new swath displacing 100s of residences along Florida Avenue and U Streets, and the 1964 recommended route for the North Central Freeway that seriously deviated from the recently assassinated John F. Kennedy's vision for a B&O Route North Central Freeway.

But was we know, the freeway should have been (and can still be built) properly, such as with the I-66 North Leg; and that the doctrinaire anti freeway stance was effectively a protest on behalf of the wealthiest and most political powerful to get over upon the general public.

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