Frank D. Reeves (1916-1973) was my Father.
In addition, a lawyer and civil rights activist who was part of the team that shaped the landmark Brown v. Board of Education
(1954) lawsuit that rendered segregated schools unconstitutional and mandated school desegregation throughout the United
Reeves was born in Montreal
and educated in New York City,
before moving to Washington
D.C. He lived with his family at 322
Division Ave. NE and graduated from Dunbar
He earned undergraduate and law degrees at Howard
After receiving his law degree in 1939, Reeves worked for the NAACP in New
In the 1950s, he worked with Thurgood Marshall, James
Nabrit, and others on the battle to desegregate
He was the first African American chosen to sit on
the DC Board of Commissioners, the three-man panel that ran the city from 1874 until limited home rule was instituted in 1967.
He declined the appointment.
In 1960, Reeves became the first African American
member of the Democratic National Committee. He served as an advisor on minority affairs to Senator
during his campaign for the presidency and than served as an advisor on minority affairs for President
Reeves taught at the Howard
of Law during the 1960s. At the same time, he was legal counsel to the Southern Christian Leadership
Conference (SCLC) and helped negotiate the 1963 March on Washington
for Jobs and Freedom as well as the Poor Peoples Campaign in 1967. Reeves was known for taking pro bono, or free, cases and
organized others to do the same as part of Neighborhood Legal Services at Howard University.
He co-founded the National Conference of Black Lawyers,
committed to struggle against racism through the use of the law. He also founded the Joint
for Political Studies.
D Reeves Center
for Municipal Affairs at 14th and U streets, NW, was named in his honor when it opened in 1986.