Notable DC figures

District law requires that full names be used when naming a public space after a person. And we like to name public space after people. So if one pays attention, there is an opportunity to learn about the historical figures that we (or at least I) didn’t learn about in school because they weren’t rich white men.

I’m going to use this space to share information about some of these notable figures.

Today we’ll learn about Frank D. Reeves, after whom the District government building at 14th and U Streets, NW, was named. Frank Reeves, I learned, was the first Black person nominated to serve on the Board of Commissioners for DC* (two governance structures before our current one). He was a professor at Howard Law School, and was also involved in politics on the national level. [Frank daniel reeves. (1973, Apr 14). The Washington Post, Times Herald (1959-1973) Retrieved from]

Frank Reeves also was counsel to Marion Barry during Barry’s heyday in civil rights activism.** [By Alice Bonner Washington Post,Staff Writer. (1973, Apr 10). Rights lawyer frank D. reeves dies. The Washington Post, Times Herald (1959-1973) Retrieved from]

*He didn’t serve, having withdrawn after information came to light that these days would hardly merit notice but in the ’60s was apparently scandal-worthy. [Shipley raps tax affairs of reeves. (1961, Jun 27). The Washington Post, Times Herald (1959-1973) Retrieved from]

**This is not to suggest at all that Barry’s service on the school board and as mayor and Councilmember wasn’t/isn’t civil rights work, only that I’m referring to the period before he held elected office.

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