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Marion Barry's mother dies

By Tim Craig
D.C. Council member Marion Barry's mother, Mattie Cummings, died early Sunday morning in her hometown of Memphis, Tenn. She was 92.

Barry (D-Ward 8), who served four terms as mayor of the District, announced the death in a statement sent to reporters Sunday night. The statement did not mention a cause of death.

"As Mr. Barry reflects on the joys of his mother's life, he asks that you keep him and his family in your prayers," the statement said.

Mattie Cummings was born in Yazoo, Miss., in 1917. Barry's father, a farm laborer, died unexpectedly when Marion Barry was four years old.

In a 1978 Washington Post article, Mattie Cummings spoke of how she moved with her son and his sister to Memphis a year after her husband's death. She remarried and gave birth to three more children. The large family was crowded into a small, four-room "shotgun-house" in the south Memphis slums, the article states.

After Barry launched his political career in Washington, his deeply religious mother frequently traveled to the city to support him. She stood with Barry when he was first inaugurated mayor in 1979. In 1991, after Barry was forced to leave office following his conviction for drug possession, Cummings was one of the last people to see him before he entered prison. When Barry was sworn in for his fourth term as mayor in 1995, Cummings was again at his side.

"It is a blessing to be alive to see the things that he has been able to do for his people," Cummings was quoted as saying a decade ago at a party in honor of her son at the MCI Center (now Verizon Center).

The statement issued by Barry Sunday night said funeral services are planned for Saturday. More details will be released in the coming days.

By By Tim Craig  |  November 9, 2009; 5:56 AM ET
Categories:  D.C. Council , Marion Barry , Tim Craig  
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My condolences to Marion, his family and friends of the family!

Posted by: jyang26 | November 9, 2009 8:48 AM | Report abuse

Why is this news? This should be a private matter.

Posted by: illegalalien | November 9, 2009 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Condolences go out to Councilmember/Former Mayor Marion Barry and his family.

Posted by: MissLady1 | November 9, 2009 10:31 AM | Report abuse

My Family and I would like to send our Condolences to the family of Councilmember/Former Mayor of Washington, DC Marion Barry.

Posted by: dcynnep | November 9, 2009 11:16 AM | Report abuse

From experience I know the pain that Marion Barry is going through,the passing of his mother will always be with him. My condolences go to him.with Respect and Love.

Posted by: onesugar1 | November 9, 2009 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Who the hell cares? She raised a POS. Hopefully Marion will join her sooner rather than later.

Posted by: islandhopper24 | November 9, 2009 1:24 PM | Report abuse

She lived a long life and anyone who has lost a mother knows the pain.

Shame on WaPo for always allowing hateful comments to remain on their website.

Posted by: rlj1 | November 9, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

"Who the hell cares? She raised a POS. Hopefully Marion will join her sooner rather than later."

Posted by: islandhopper24 | November 9, 2009 1:24 PM

WOW- islandhopper24, you are full of poison and hatred. That bad karma you just released will be visited upon you and yours sooner than later....

Posted by: DarkWater | November 9, 2009 5:51 PM | Report abuse

Marion Barry's mother did enough right that her son was willing to go back to Mississippi in the early 1960's when agitating for equal rights and voting rights for blacks was a dangerous proposition. God rest her soul.

Posted by: karlanne1 | November 9, 2009 7:03 PM | Report abuse

Some comments are left best unsaid. Didn't your mother teach you any compassion?? Is your mother responsible for every mistake you've made in your life and yet to come?? Be careful for the grave you dig for others because you will fall in it!!!

Posted by: ehenry1 | November 10, 2009 10:17 AM | Report abuse


1 Corinthians 15:33
Psalms 34:13
Ephesians 4:22
Proverbs 29:11
Proverbs 15:14
MATTHEW 12:36-37
Proverbs 21:23

Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt - Abraham Lincoln

Posted by: shank2sb | November 12, 2009 11:40 AM | Report abuse

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