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Black History Boston: Charles Yancey

The Honorable Charles Calvin Yancey grew up in Roxbury, the sixth of nine children. When he was 12 years old, he wrote a letter to the Mayor of Boston requesting a vacant lot across from his home be turned into a playground. This request was granted and served as his first political success. Charles graduated from Boston Technical High School in 1965. Charles then received a Bachelors in Economics at Tufts University in 1970 and later his Masters in Public Administration at Harvard University in 1991. While at Tufts University, Charles founded the Afro-American Society and the African American Cultural Center

During the 1970, Charles worked with the Urban Finance Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston and the UDI Community Development Corporation in Durham, North Carolina. He also co-founded the Community for Human Rights. Charles was elected to represent District 4 of the Boston City Council in 1983, advocating on behalf of Mattapan and Dorchester. He maintained that seat till 2015, operating as the Council President in 2001, becoming the second Black person to hold that position. Charles also served on the National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials in 1999. 

Other Accomplishments

  • Chair of the Council’s Committee of Employment and Workforce Development, and Finance Services and Community Investment
  • The annual Charles C. Yancey Book Fair has provided over 100,000 free books for Boston children since 1987
  • Support and Advocacy in the Free South Africa Movement
  • Established a Sister City relationship between Boston and Sekondi-Takoradi in Ghana, West Africa

Thank you, Charles Yancey, for your years of service and dedication to the Black community of Boston!

Learn more about Charles Yancey:

Contact Department: Diversity

Publish Date: Fri, 02/28/2020 – 9:58am