Robert C. Weaver had a strong public record as a Civil Rights leader and a government official, but there was still some controversy when he became the first black nominated to a Cabinet-level position on this day in 1966.
On January 13, 1966, President Johnson announced he wanted Weaver named as the newest member of his cabinet, as secretary of the new Housing and Urban Development department that had been created in September 1965. Four days later, the Senate confirmed Weaver to the position.
Weaver served through the rest of the Johnson administration before returning to the academic world, as president of Bernard Baruch College and as a professor at Hunter College, Carnegie-Mellon and New York University.
At the time of his passing in 1997, at the age of 90, Weaver was remembered for his many accomplishments.
“Weaver was known especially as a brilliant tactician of the black civil rights movement during its difficult early years,” said the Los Angeles Times.
“Dr. Weaver, who said that ‘’you cannot have physical renewal without human renewal,’ pushed for better-looking public housing by offering awards for design. He also increased the amount of money for small businesses displaced by urban renewal and revived the long-dormant idea of Federal rent subsidies for the elderly,” said The New York Times.
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