Economist and housing expert Robert Clifton Weaver (1907-1997) was born in Washington and grew up in the Brookland neighborhood. He graduated from Dunbar High School and went on to Harvard University, where he received a B.A. (1929), M.A. (1931), and Ph.D. (1934), all in economics. Upon completing his education, he moved into a long and productive career in government service. His "firsts" include first African American to hold a New York State cabinet-level position (1955) and first African American member of a presidential cabinet (1966), when President Lyndon Johnson appointed Weaver secretary of the new Department of Housing and Urban Development. Secretary Weaver is credited with changing the focus of federal housing policy from buildings to community development programs that strengthened individuals and communities.

Outside of his government roles, Weaver was a steady worker for civil rights, including service as chairman of the NAACP. At the end of his life he moved to New York City to head Baruch College. He became one of the directors of New York City's Municipal Assistance Corporation, set up to save the city from fiscal collapse in the 1970s. In 2000 the Washington headquarters of the Department of Housing and Urban Development at 451 Seventh Street, NW, was named in his honor. His Brookland home on this site was demolished in 1973.


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