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Marion Barry releases new memoir, 'Mayor For Life'

Marion Barry attends 25th birthday celebration for former Washington Wizard Gilbert Arenas.
Photo by Nancy Ostertag/Getty Images

Former DC Mayor and current Ward 8 DC Council member Marion Barry released his memoir Tuesday.

"Mayor For Life: The Incredible Story of Marion Barry, Jr.," (Strebor Books) is co-written with novelist Omar Tyree, and recounts Barry's life story: from humble beginnings as the son of a sharecropper clearing cotton fields in Mississippi, to his ascension to mayor of one of the most powerful cities in the world.

But the heady power and influence attached with such a position is rarely managed without a misstep. For Barry, a huge misstep. One that dogs him to this day and is discussed at great length in the book.

In 1990, the former mayor was videotaped smoking crack cocaine in an FBI sting that involved his former girlfriend Rasheeda Moore. Barry was charged with perjury and drug possession, and ultimately served six months in a federal prison.

Although Barry provides a detailed review of his past drug bust, media outlets are criticizing the memoir for whitewashing the polarizing political figure's past.

Harry Jaffe, writer at Washingtonian, says the memoir is Barry's attempt to "polish his legacy." Other news sources claim the memoir attempts to recast Barry's legacy.

Aside from the DC councilman's checkered political past, his accomplishments are undeniable. Barry was active in the Civil Rights Movement, served as the first chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), was the second elected mayor of the District, served four terms, and was widely praised by D.C. residents for providing summer jobs for the youth.

According to the Washington Post, Barry is scheduled to make several appearances to promote the book, including events in DC and New York, as well as an interview with Oprah Winfrey.

Kevin Don Porter is a CBS local contributor and the author of the mysteries MISSING and OVER THE EDGE—both available on Amazon.com. Visit his website at www.kevindonporter.com. Friend him on Facebook and Goodreads, and follow him on Twitter: @kevindonporter.