Robert C. Weaver, First African American To Hold A Cabinet Level Position In The United States

0 Posted by - April 10, 2021 - LATEST POSTS

Robert C. Weaver remains one of the least known of the civil rights pioneers who struggled throughout the middle half of the twentieth century to obtain rights for black Americans. Ebony magazine called him “one of the direct action pioneers” for picketing Washington, DC, stores as early as the 1930s. Primarily, however, his activities were within the context of his governmental jobs; he held various federal positions under Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal administration in the 1930s and 1940s, and then again under the John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson presidential administrations in the early 1960s. In 1961 he received the highest federal appointment then assigned to any African American when he became Administrator of the Housing and Home Finance Agency. Four years later, he became the first African American on the presidential cabinet, when President Johnson appointed him to the top position at the newly formed U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

While many have considered Weaver’s achievements to be exceptional, he never considered his actions extraordinary. He was raised in a middle-class family in Washington, DC, by parents who stressed education and achievement. “They worked [and] they struggled,” he told Ebony magazine, “and their one ambition was to send us to New England schools.” The family’s vision of success was rooted in its lineage. Weaver’s grandfather, Robert Tanner Freeman, was the first Black person to graduate from Harvard with a degree in dentistry. His parents realized their goal, for Weaver attended Harvard from 1925 until 1934, earning bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees in economics.

Source: Robert Clifton Weaver Facts, information, pictures | articles about Robert Clifton Weaver


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