Marion S. Barry Jr. is laid to rest at the Congressional Cemetery in Washington, D.C. and there is a bronze statue of his likeness in front of the John A. Wilson Building. Photos: Haroon Rajaee

‘He Whom Allah (God) Befriends is Not Disgraced’

[Editor’s note: The following article contains edited excerpts of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan’s message at the wreath-laying ceremony held at the grave site for Brother Mayor Marion Barry, Jr.,

at Congressional Cemetery in Washington, D.C., on Sunday, September 18, 2022.]

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.

As-Salaam Alaikum (Peace be unto you).

Student Supreme Captain Mustapha Farrakhan and Mrs. Cora Masters Barry, wife of former D.C. Mayor Marion Barry lay a wreath in his honor during a September 18 ceremony.

Thank you, Sister Cora Masters Barry.  Thank you, Bishop Thomas A. Masters, and thank you, Sister Claudette Marie Muhammad.  To everyone that is here, thank you so much for the honor you have brought to yourself for honoring one of the best that walked among us, Mayor Marion Barry, Jr.

Bishop Masters, you said so much in the song you sang, “The Lord Will Make a Way Somehow.”  It reminds me of Jesus talking to a world of sin; and he said to those whom he came to serve that they shouldn’t worry about their sins, because he came to save us from our sins. Sin is a burden on every soul, and Jesus said, “Come unto me, all you that are suffering, heavy-ladened, and I will give you rest; for I am meek and humble, and lowly of heart, but you will find rest unto your souls.”

As we look at ourselves go through time, and I look at myself going through time: Time is such a winner all the time; because none of us can stay here beyond our time, but what we do with the time is what makes us favored with The God of Time. 

‘Try to do the best in service, try to do the best you can’

When I think about my brother, Marion Barry Jr., born in hell, in Mississippi, where our people have suffered in a way that others have not suffered in the same hell, [I am reminded of] Nina Simone’s song “Mississippi God-damn.” 

God is damning not only Mississippi, He is damning America for the evil that she has done, continues to do, and refuses to repent. 

I talked to my sister one day, Sister Cora Masters Barry, and she asked me had I ever seen the statue of Marion Barry that they erected.  I said, “No, sis.  I have not seen it.  But what I would like to do, that I do in every country that I go to, I look for the grave of the one who serves in lifting the people of that country.”  And when I think of Mayor Barry, I think of Jesus saying to him: “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” 

The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan shared poignant and reflective words on the life and legacy of his friend, Mayor Marion Barry during a September 18 ceremony that included a wreath-laying and visit to a bronze statue of the mayor’s likeness in Washington, D.C. The Minster thanked Mrs. Cora Masters Barry for being a help-meet and support to her late husband. Photo: Haroon Rajaee

We have a verse in The Qur’an that I quoted, where his statue is: “He whom Allah befriends is not disgraced.”  Even though you’re going through things in your life that you may be ashamed of, God is not worried about that; because you were reared in America under the real devil, so you have learned how to be your master in Black flesh.  You and I have to come up from the way he made us, because the scripture teaches we are “born in sin.”  

“Born in sin?  Every baby, born in sin?  How could that be?”  Because we were born in the world that Adam started—the first Adam—and he was a rebel against God.  When he rebelled against God, he set in motion a world of rebellion; so, whatever God says do, the devil says: “No, it’s not that bad.  Do it!”  We have been invited to live a crazy life under White rule—and they love it.  The more ignorant-acting you are, the more filthy and funky that we are, he praises you.  If you come decent, with a nice dress on that covers what God wants to cover, the devil says: “No!  You can sing, that’s fine, but girl, you’ve got such a fine body, why don’t you let the world see it?!  So why don’t you peel back some of that dress and let the world see what God made.” 

But God made the woman not to be played with.  He made her as His Second Self, a Co-Creator with Him!  So nobody comes to this Earth except they come through the womb of a woman.

Mayor Barry, born in Mississippi, raised in Memphis, Tenn., was a child of God from the very beginning.  Satan had his way with him for a while, but Mayor Barry was always to be a servant of God and a servant of his people.  And Jesus said, “Whoever would be great among you, let him be your servant,” for he didn’t come into the world to be served, he came into the world to serve

So with tears in my eyes, and Cora Masters Barry on the other end of the telephone, I said: “Sis, I want to come to Washington.”  Not come here to make no speech!  I came here today to honor a man that helped give us the greatest day in the history of our struggle in America!  The greatest day!

Photo with Minister Farrakhan holding replica of statue of Mayor Marion Barry close to his heart with Student Supreme Captain Mustapha Farrakhan and Mrs. Cora Masters Barry. Photo: Don Enoch Muhammad

Mayor Barry and Cora Masters Barry: Together, their service helped bring forth the Historic

Million Man March

I came into Mayor Barry’s office, with his permission, and I sat down, and said: “Brother Mayor, I want to bring a million people to Washington, D.C.”  And that was it!  He said, “Come on!” and Mayor Barry opened every door, turned every key, and he, and his wife, made it possible for us to bring nearly 2 million people to Washington, D.C., for the Historic Million Man March. 

A gathering like this had never been done before…  And I have been to The Mall four times, and there never was a fight, whether millions of people there or tens of thousands there!  We were displeased with our government—but we didn’t come to trouble government, we came to trouble God because we knew He is The Master of it all, and when He is with us, none can be against us and win!  So Mayor Marion Barry, Jr., opened the door; and right after he came out of prison in November, I was in his office in December, and the next year (1995) was the year of Repentance, Reconciliation, Responsibility and Atonement.  And it never could have happened without Mrs. Barry and Mr. Barry. 

When those people told him, “Now, what are we gonna do about Farrakhan?” and he gave them the word that he gave them?  Then, he came true to his word to me, and I came true to my word with him, and this city gave to the world something that the world had never seen before.

I wanted to do something to honor my brother, Marion Barry.  So, when Sister Cora asked, “Have you seen his statue?” I said, “No, I haven’t,” but, “I would like to come and lay a wreath on his grave, and honor the statue of a man that lives beyond death.”  And that’s why she engaged Sister Sheba; this is why she engaged all of you to help bring me here, to this sacred spot.  It’s a beautiful place to honor a man that gave his life for us, lived his life for us. 

What Mayor Barry did, he showed every mayor how to serve as a mayor!  He used the levers and the power of government to serve “the little man”; he opened up the door for people who would not even be considered to get a contract with their government.  What is there too good for that man and this woman?  Because see, he didn’t just do it by himself, Cora Masters Barry was right there in the room when I mentioned the Million Man March.  When he said he’s going to help me do it, there was Mrs. Barry who said, “Amen,” and led the way. 

Praise God for this woman!  She is a treasure…  A real treasure.  And it reminds me of what my teacher told me about women. 

Minister Farrakhan meeting with Mayor Marion Barry after the Million Man March Photo Ruth Muhammad

Woman is not the woman of man.  Woman is The Woman of God.  When He Self-Created, He studied Himself and found in Himself a Comfort, and a Consoler, and One to Re-Produce Himself.  He found a Woman.  So the Bible said, “It ain’t good for a man to be alone.”  Well, God didn’t wanna be alone either!  He had Him a Woman, and that was you.  So don’t you ever think of yourself as some “beautiful temptress” for stupid men. 

Sisters, don’t you ever let the enemy cause you to disgrace yourself.  A man has to be worthy to have you!  Don’t let a man come near you and you don’t have a yardstick to measure his worthiness to be in your presence—BECAUSE YOU ARE NOT THE WOMAN OF MAN!  YOU ARE THE WOMAN OF GOD.

Sister Cora Masters Barry did exactly what the Book teaches; that she was his “help-meet.”  Not a “mate,” but she helped him meet every objective of his beautiful life of service!  She was there, and she took a lot of heat for being there. 

As I close, I thank you so much, Sister Cora.  Last night, she gave me a copy of the statue of my brother; and they took a picture with she and I, with that statue, and the next picture was me taking that statue to my heart. 

‘He whom Allah (God) befriends is not disgraced’

I am in love with my brother, Mayor Barry.  He was a true servant of God.  And when the enemy finds something dirty about you, he will try to use it to discredit you with your people.  But most important: The enemy hates the fact that our brother was such a gifted man!  The enemy was hateful of the gift that Mayor Marion Barry used to serve us, so they want to spit in God’s Face and set up a woman to hurt him.  Set up a woman to drag him down.  Set up a woman to cause him to be disgraced.  But remember the prayer that we say: “He whom Allah befriends is not disgraced.”

Mayor Barry is buried at the Congressional Cemetery in Washington, D.C. Photo: Final X

Jesus was hated.  Jesus was lied on.  Jesus was brought into the court of man…  And then they laughed, they mocked him, they spat on him.  So heck, if you can’t take that in the world of Satan, he will make you bow down!  But when you know God, and you know Christ, you don’t have any “back down” in you!  You know He is gonna see you through.

So to all of you, I want you to know this about Mayor Barry: The Qur’an says, “Speak not of those who die or are slain in the way of God as ‘dead’; they are alive, but you perceive not.”  Mayor Barry is alive.  We don’t come here, crying!  The physical body is here [in the grave], but where is his mind?  His mind is in the people that were touched by him!  His mind is in the people that know about him!  His mind, and his heart, is in the people of the 8th Ward, and beyond that!  His mind is in the heart and the mind of every Black man, or woman, that will serve in government! 

Don’t you ever be a flunky for your open enemy because he makes you “vice president.”  You didn’t hear me!  The White man will give you positions as long as you use that position to serve him.  Jesus, one day, met with Satan.  What is Jesus doing talking to Satan?  Satan tells Jesus: “I want you to come up on the mountain with me.”  So Jesus said, “Let me see what this man is going to do,” and he walked up the mountain with Satan.  When he got to the top of the mountain, Satan said: “Jesus, look at all that you can see… As far as your eye can see: See, I’ve got that.”  Satan said: “I know He promised you a ‘kingdom,’ uh-huh—but a kingdom is in my hands!  You come and bow down to me and I will give you what I’ve got!” 

Satan will give you anything if you bow down.  What every one of us has to get in our minds is the road up is not in his hands; the road to power is not in his hands!  The road up is with God!  And when you submit your will to do God’s Will, you are on your way up. 

Jesus said, “Blessed are you when men shall revile you, say all manner of evil against you for my sake; persecute you.”  I mean, just think about that word, “Blessed.”  Then, Jesus comes back even harder: “What should my attitude be?”  That’s the “Be Attitudes” (“Beatitudes”), meaning the present time, your attitude should be what is written.  “Be!”  Be what?  “Rejoice!  Be exceedinglyglad, for great is your reward in heaven for so did they, the prophets, that were before you.” 

Mayor Marion Barry lived a prophetic life, a life of service and a life of suffering.  And you can’t serve God right without suffering for your service.  But if you hold fast, hold on…  And if you reject Satan like Jesus did (“Get thee behind me!”): meaning, “You’re not in front of me!  I know Who is in front of me, it’s The Father; and He will take the kingdom from whom He pleases, and He will give it to whom He pleases.” 

My brother is not “dead.”  He is alive, but you can’t understand that the flesh going back to the earth is not the end of God’s Greatness.  There was a man in the Bible named “Elisha,” and my teacher asked me one day: “Did you know about Elisha, brother?”  I said, “Well yes, I have read something.”  He said, “Did you know that when he died, they laid him down in a grave, and there were bones down there of a man that had been long dead, but the bones begin moving; the bones begin shaking.  Do you know what that means, brother?”  I said, “No, Sir.”  He said: “It means that he ruled from beyond the grave.”  Barry rules.  God rules.  And when you suffer for God, death is not your end!  It’s the beginning of your resurrection to High Ground. 

Sister Cora, there are no words for me to say “thank you” for allowing me this privilege to come and be with the flowers that were not here before; but, they are here now, to demonstrate our love for this beautiful, magnificent wonder of God. 

Brothers and sisters, rise up, and whatever you learned from him, put it into practice.  Whatever you learned about Jesus, put it into practice.  Don’t talk “Christ,” live Christ, so that when you walk, Christ walks!  When you talk, Christ talks!  When you sing, Christ sings!  And when your hands clap and work, God is working through your hands.

Thank you, Sister Cora, for being the hands for Mayor Barry.  Thank you for saying yes to what he wanted to do, and then you went to work to make it happen.  So, I am not here in a cemetery feeling sad, I am thanking Allah (God) for my sister, when I told her I wanted to honor my brother, and here I am. 

I have a few more graves to visit; I’m going to visit the grave of my brother, Dick Gregory, and the grave of the mother of the Million Man March, Dr. Dorothy Irene Height.  You don’t know the hell that that woman suffered when she wanted to stand with me, from the same people that confronted Mayor Barry… 

But know that my teacher said, “One day, you will have the enemy around your finger like a string; you won’t even know he is there until you look for him.”  He’s over!  It’s finished!  God is bringing him down, and God is bringing us up.  And when it’s your turn, don’t be like the one God is taking power from, be one of service, and goodness, and righteousness.