Weaver, Robert Clifton

(1907-1997)
   Robert Weaver was born in Washington, D.C. He obtained his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. from Harvard, graduating in 1934. From 1933 to 1937, he was an adviser on Negro affairs in the Department of the Interior and a member of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “Black Cabinet.” From 1937 to 1940, Weaver was employed as a special assistant for the United States Housing Authority. During World War II, he was actively involved in mobilizing African Americans for the war effort. He worked with the Office of Production Management and then was director of Negro Manpower Service in the War Manpower Commission. After the war, Weaver served on the Chicago Mayor’s Committee on Race Relations before his specialization in housing matters led to teaching posts at Columbia Teachers College and New York University in 1947 and the J. H. Whitney Foundation in 1949. In 1954, he was appointed deputy commissioner in the New York State Division of Housing. After working for the Ford Foundation from 1959 to 1961, Weaver became an administrator in the Federal Housing and Home Finance Agency until 1966, when he was appointed as the first secretary of housing and urban development by President Lyndon Johnson. His was the first appointment of an African American to a cabinet post. In 1969, he became president of Bernard Baruch College and in 1970 professor of urban affairs at Hunter College. He retired in 1978. Among Weaver’s publications were Negro Labor: A National Problem (1946) and The Negro Ghetto (1948). In 2000, the Department of Housing and Urban Development building in Washington, D. C., was named in his honor.

Historical Dictionary of the Roosevelt–Truman Era . . 2015.

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