Obituary: Community mourns Jeanette Boone Smith

by Sue O'Connell
Wednesday Nov 7, 2012

Activist had city-wide impact

South End activist Jeannette Boone Smith died of cancer on October 23 in her home on Shawmut Avenue. She was 77.

Boone Smith is well known as an advocate for affordable housing and as a constituent service provider for US Senator John Kerry. After moving to Boston, she quickly became the chairperson of the Ward 9 Democratic Committee,

She was one of the founders of Four Corners Development, which built mixed income housing, including Langham Court.

After her retirement she devoted her life to helping at risk youth. Tragedy struck in 2011 and when her grandson, Justin Albert, was stabbed to death by a group of men.

City Councillor Ayanna Pressley said, "The impact Jeanette Boone Smith had on our city is profound and far reaching, and so it makes sense that her absence would be felt deeply by so many. She was one of the first African Americans I met with a senior role in government (while working together for Senator Kerry), and definitely one of few women. I am fortunate and blessed to count her as a mentor and a role model.

I'll miss her raspy voice at the other end of the phone line, fighting for a second chance for a troubled youth, asking for a donation for the Ella Baker House, for a partner in lobbying for ABCD, or an invitation to worship with her at her beloved Roxbury Presbyterian Church.

I'm grieving her loss this morning but rejoicing that the many people she mentored will continue her good work, and that she is at peace and reunited with her son and grandson."


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