US

Former DC mayor Marion Barry's legacy viewed in contrasting ways after his death

  • Kaneisha Tiller, far left, and Crystal Hamilton, hold candles during a vigil to honor former mayor and current DC City Council member Marion Barry, Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014, in Washington. Barry, who staged a comeback after a 1990 crack cocaine arrest, died early Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014. He was 78. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

    Kaneisha Tiller, far left, and Crystal Hamilton, hold candles during a vigil to honor former mayor and current DC City Council member Marion Barry, Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014, in Washington. Barry, who staged a comeback after a 1990 crack cocaine arrest, died early Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014. He was 78. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)  (The Associated Press)

  • Nyela Williams, left in hat, Barbara Jones,center, a longtime employee of former Mayor Barry, and Dawn Perry, right, comfort each other during a vigil to honor former Mayor and current DC City Council member Marion Barry, Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014, in Washington. Barry, who staged a comeback after a 1990 crack cocaine arrest, died early Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014. He was 78. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

    Nyela Williams, left in hat, Barbara Jones,center, a longtime employee of former Mayor Barry, and Dawn Perry, right, comfort each other during a vigil to honor former Mayor and current DC City Council member Marion Barry, Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014, in Washington. Barry, who staged a comeback after a 1990 crack cocaine arrest, died early Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014. He was 78. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)  (The Associated Press)

  • Oliver Johnson, Jr., holds an acrylic painting he did of former Mayor Marion Barry and Chuck Brown, during a vigil to honor former Mayor and current DC City Council member Marion Barry, Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014, in Washington. Barry, who staged a comeback after a 1990 crack cocaine arrest, died early Sunday morning Nov. 23, 2014. He was 78. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

    Oliver Johnson, Jr., holds an acrylic painting he did of former Mayor Marion Barry and Chuck Brown, during a vigil to honor former Mayor and current DC City Council member Marion Barry, Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014, in Washington. Barry, who staged a comeback after a 1990 crack cocaine arrest, died early Sunday morning Nov. 23, 2014. He was 78. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)  (The Associated Press)

Two divergent views of Marion Barry's legacy stand in stark contrast with one another.

Outside the nation's capital, Barry was long known as the mayor caught on film smoking crack in an FBI sting. But inside the city he represented, Barry is also remembered as a statesman who helped bring self-government to the people and gave a voice to the poor and working class when he was first elected mayor in 1978.

In some ways, the divide follows racial lines, with whites less forgiving of Barry's personal failings and corruption. Many blacks in Washington say the media perpetuates Barry's downfall and ignores his accomplishments.

Barry died Sunday at 78.