Chapter

Fighting for a Better Deal

in Robert Clifton Weaver and the American City

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/9780226684505.003.0003
Fighting for a Better Deal

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On 30 June 1933, John P. Davis and Robert C. Weaver took their places at the hearing table of the National Recovery Administration (NRA). Meeting in a temporary building constructed behind the White House, the board of the NRA sat to hear testimony on a proposed “Code of Fair Competition” for the textile industry, an industry particularly hard hit by the deepening depression. Decades later, it is difficult to understand why a couple of young men, both with advanced degrees from Harvard, would attract such a great deal of attention just by testifying at what amounted to an administrative hearing. But, in a country where Jim Crow segregation ruled throughout the South and racial discrimination was a matter of course across the country, the sight of two African Americans before the national government was a major event. Weaver's and Davis's appearance would set the two men on a course that would take both, albeit in dramatically different directions, to positions of leadership in the civil rights movement. For Weaver, the hearing would be the beginning of a long and illustrious career in government service. It would also mark the first in a series of decisions Weaver would make regarding the path toward racial justice. Though they started their efforts together, Weaver and Davis would soon part ways — Davis choosing to agitate from outside the system, and Weaver choosing a career within government institutions, prodding and pulling them toward reform.

Keywords: John P. Davis; Robert C. Weaver; National Recovery Administration; African Americans; government service; civil rights movement; racial justice

Chapter.  9627 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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