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Kenneth  Reeves

Kenneth Reeves

Former Mayor of Cambridge

Kenneth Reeves

Former Mayor of Cambridge


Ken Reeves is a Cantabridgian who served as a Cambridge City Councilor for 23 years. He served three terms as Mayor of Cambridge. He most recently served as a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Visiting Scholar in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT.

As Mayor of Cambridge, Ken served as the first African American Mayor in Massachusetts and as the nation’s first openly gay African American Mayor. His terms as Mayor and Vice Mayor are characterized by their energy and innovation. Ken as an elected official founded the W.E.B. DuBois Academy for adolescent males of African Descent, the Cambridge Men of Color Health Task Force, the Cambridge Community Chorus, the Cambridge African American Heritage Trail, and the Cambridge Dance Complex.

For six years Ken served as the Chairperson of the Cambridge School Committee where he chaired the Task Force on the Potential of Students and the Commission on the High School of the 21st Century. Both of these efforts were lengthy research projects resulting in major recommendations for system change. Ken also led the Cambridge School Committee to mandate that all eighth graders study algebra.

Ken has endeavored to help Cambridge look forward with vision toward its future. He has initiated numerous commissions to study, fact-find, and make recommendations for the future progress of the city. They are: the Commission on Cambridge as a Destination (tourism); the Commission for the Enhancement of Central Square Now (resulting in millions of dollars in infrastructure improvements): the Cambridge Latino Commission; the Cambridge Haitian Commission; and the Cambridge Baby University (for parents of children 0-3); and the Cambridge Office for College Success.

Ken was educated at Harvard College and the University of Michigan Law School.

Speaker Videos

From Detroit to Trinity to Harvard

We Know Our History is Important

Speech Topics

Governing a Bio & Tech Epicenter City (Cambridge, MA)

What it is Like to Be a Gay & Black Elected Official

Being African American in America

Making Public Schools Succeed