Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) Fifty years ago today, January 13, 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson appointed the first African American to serve in the cabinet, Robert C. Weaver.*
Mr. Weaver became secretary of the newly created Department of Housing and Urban Development. He had previously served as adviser to the Secretary of the Interior under President Franklin D. Roosevelt and head of the Housing and Home Finance Agency under President John F. Kennedy.
In the summer of 1963, Mr. Weaver gave a speech in New York City titled "The Negro as an American." He began...
"Most middle-class white Americans ask 'why do negroes push so?' I would reply that when (we) press for full equality now (we) are behaving as all other Americans would under similar circumstances."
Mr. Weaver then stated some statistics for his listeners to ponder...
--Median black family income only 55% that of white family income
--1/3 of black families earn enough for an acceptable standard of living
--Few college-trained black men
and perhaps the most telling statement of the economic position of African-Americans in the year 1963....
"most (black) Americans...are not only outside the mainstream of our society but see no hope of entering it."
**Robert C. Weaver (1907-1997) was born in Washington, D.C. and earned his BA, MA and PhD at Harvard University. Mr. Weaver was a member of FDR's "black cabinet."
After serving as Secretary of the Department of Housing and
Urban Development, Mr. Weaver later served as president of Baruch College and professor of urban affairs at Hunter College in New York.
"The Negro as an American," Robert C. Weaver, June 13, 1963, New York City, www.blackpast.org/
Robert C. Weaver and LBJ
Photo by Frank Wolfe (1966)
LBJ Online Photo Archive
Zurich, Switzerland (JFK+50) Ireland's greatest author, James Joyce,** died here in Zurich three quarters of a century ago, January 13, 1941. Joyce's masterpiece, Ulysses, is regarded as one of the greatest works in the English language.
**James Augustine Aloysius Joyce (1882-1941) was born in Dublin, Ireland. He attended Clongoues and Belvedere schools as well as University College Dublin. Joyce's works include "Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man," "Finnegan's Wake," "Dubliners," as well as "Ulysses."