Charles Calvin Yancey was first elected to the Boston City Council in 1983 and began serving his fourteenth term in office in 2010. He is currently Dean of the Boston City Council, serving longer than any current member of the body. He is chair of the Post Audit & Oversight Committee and Vice Chair of the City, Neighborhood Services & Veterans Affairs Committee. He is a member of the Whole; Housing; Ways and Means; Public Safety; and Labor, Youth Affairs, and Human Rights Committees. He is also a member of the special committees on Charter Reform and the 2010 Census. He is also Vice Chairman of the Ingersoll Browne Fund.
Councillor Yancey served as president of the Boston City Council in 2001, president of the National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials in 1999, president of the Black Political Task Force in 1982, and president of his Jr. Achievement Company, ATCO in 1966.
As a member of the Boston City Council, Councillor Yancey has challenged and continues to challenge every department head to improve his or her performance of insuring that their departmental personnel reflect the gender and racial demographic make-up of the City of Boston at all salary levels. His dedication to achieving equal rights for all people began to emerge in 1966, during his four years at Tufts University, where he founded the Afro-American Society, the African American Cultural Center and the Tufts Summer Institute. Addressing racial injustice at Tufts University, Charles Yancey organized and participated in demonstrations, which resulted in increased employment opportunities for People of Color and women.
Councillor Yancey has also challenged the City of Boston to build a new high school in Mattapan and to increase educational resources for enhancing academic growth of African American, Hispanic and all students attending Boston Public Schools.
Councillor Yancey successfully initiated the building of the Dorchester/Mattapan Police Station and the Gallivan Community Center in the 1980s. He also successfully introduced a $7 Million loan-order in 1997 to build the Mildred Avenue Community Center in Mattapan. It opened its doors in 2003. In 1997, he successfully introduced a $10 million loan-order to build a library in Mattapan. It was completed in 2009.
Councillor Yancey gained national and international attention in 1984 for his involvement in the Free South Africa Movement with his authorship of a stringent "model" divestiture bill that withdrew $12.5 million of Boston's assets from companies doing business in South Africa. As a result of the legislation, which was used throughout the nation as a model for other municipalities to divest, Yancey was invited to address a United Nations assembly.
He wrote the Parental School Leave Ordinance to encourage greater parental involvement in the Boston Public school system. He successful got tobacco control laws on the books, including the prohibition of free cigarette distribution and use of unattended vending machines to sell cigarettes.
Councillor Yancey successfully established a sister city relationship between the City of Boston and Sekondi-Takoradi, Ghana in 2001.
Councillor Yancey and his wife, Marzetta Yancey, founded the Charles Yancey Book Fair, in 1987, since which time more than 450,000 books have been distributed to over 18,000 children and families. The 25th Annual Charles C. Yancey Book Fair was held on July 9th 2011.
Councillor Yancey married Marzetta Morrissette Yancey on January 24, 1970 and they have raised three sons, Charles, Jr., Derrick, Sharif, and a daughter, Ashley. They have five grandchildren: Noel, David, Derrick Jr., Steven and Hattie.
A life-long resident of Boston, Massachusetts, Councillor Yancey was born at Massachusetts Memorial Hospital in Boston on December 28, 1948 to Howell Yancey, Sr., and Alice W. Yancey. He grew up at in Roxbury along with six brothers and two sisters. A product of the Boston Public School System, Charles Yancey attended the Philip Brooks Elementary School, the Patrick T. Campbell Junior High School, and Boston Technical High School.
Charles Yancey received his Bachelor's Degree in Economics from Tufts University in 1970 and a Master's Degree in Public Administration from Harvard University in 1991. He has taught courses in State and Local Politics at Bunker Hill Community College in Boston and he received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Mount Ida College in 2001.