December 29th in African American History – Robert Clifton Weaver

December 29, 1907 Robert Clifton Weaver, the first African American to hold a cabinet level position in a United States President’s administration, was born in Washington, D.C.

Weaver attended Harvard University where he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree cum laude in economics in 1929, his Master of Arts degree in 1931, and his Ph.D. in 1934. Weaver was an expert on urban housing and wrote several books on the subject, including “The Negro Ghetto” (1948) and “The Urban Complex: Human Values in Urban Life” (1964).

Weaver was appointed by President Lyndon Johnson the first Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and served from 1966 to 1968. After leaving his cabinet post, Weaver became president of Baruch College in 1969 and in 1970 became a professor of urban affairs at Hunter College, from which he retired in 1978. In 1962, Weaver was awarded the NAACP Spingarn Medal. Weaver died July 17, 1997 and in 2000 the HUD headquarters building was renamed the Robert C. Weaver Federal Building. Robert Clifton Weaver Way in northeast Washington, D.C. is also named in his honor.

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