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Robert Clifton Weaver and the American City

Wendell E. Pritchett

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print October 2008 | ISBN: 9780226684482
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226684505 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226684505.001.0001
Robert Clifton Weaver and the American City

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From his role as FDR's “negro advisor” to his appointment, under Lyndon Johnson, as the first secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Robert Clifton Weaver was one of the most influential domestic policy makers and civil rights advocates of the twentieth century. This book, the first biography of the first African American to hold a cabinet position in the federal government, rescues from obscurity the story of a man whose legacy continues to impact American race relations and the cities in which they largely play out. Tracing Weaver's career through the creation, expansion, and contraction of New Deal liberalism, this book illuminates his instrumental role in the birth of almost every urban initiative of the period, from public housing and urban renewal to affirmative action and rent control. Beyond these policy achievements, Weaver also founded racial liberalism, a new approach to race relations that propelled him through a series of high-level positions in public and private agencies working to promote racial cooperation in American cities. But the author shows that despite Weaver's efforts to make race irrelevant, white and black Americans continued to call on him to mediate between the races — a position that grew increasingly untenable as Weaver remained caught between the white power structure to which he pledged his allegiance and the African Americans whose lives he devoted his career to improving. A crucial and largely unknown chapter in the history of American liberalism, this long-overdue biography adds a new dimension to our understanding of racial and urban struggles, as well as the complex role of the black elite in modern U.S. history.

Keywords: Robert Clifton Weaver; policy makers; civil rights; racial liberalism; race relations; African Americans; New Deal liberalism; federal government; urban renewal

Book.  461 pages.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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Table of Contents

Introduction in Robert Clifton Weaver and the American City

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Preparing the Talented Tenth in Robert Clifton Weaver and the American City

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Fighting for a Better Deal in Robert Clifton Weaver and the American City

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A Liberal Experiment in Robert Clifton Weaver and the American City

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Creating a New Order in Robert Clifton Weaver and the American City

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World War II and Black Labor in Robert Clifton Weaver and the American City

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Chicago and the Science of Race Relations in Robert Clifton Weaver and the American City

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Searching for a Place to Call Home in Robert Clifton Weaver and the American City

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New York City and the Institutions of Liberal Reform in Robert Clifton Weaver and the American City

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The First Cabinet Job in Robert Clifton Weaver and the American City

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