HUD Archives: News Releases

HUD No. 00-161
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Dedication Remarks

July 11, 2000


WASHINGTON – Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo today presided over the renaming of the HUD Headquarters Building in Washington to honor Robert C. Weaver, the first HUD Secretary and the first African American member of a President’s Cabinet.

Cuomo was joined for the renaming by Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Congressman Charles Rangel of New York, who sponsored legislation renaming the building the Robert C. Weaver Federal Building. The building was originally dedicated by Weaver on September 9, 1968.

"Robert Weaver was a pioneer who broke through barriers of racism again and again, to build a life of extraordinary achievement and public service," Cuomo said. "His brilliance, his talents, his hard work, and his dedication to a better America drove him forward to make history and to make our nation a better place. He is a role model and an inspiration for all of us at HUD."

Senator Moynihan said: "How fitting that we name for Bob Weaver today a building that fulfills President Kennedy’s call for the ‘choice of designs that embody the finest contemporary American architectural thought.’ As with the building, so with the man who brought it about – ‘the finest contemporary American.’ "

Congressman Rangel said: "Anyone who knows of Dr. Weaver’s achievements is aware that his activities have greatly enhanced the American way of life, for much of what he did helped many throughout the country achieve a piece of what we have come to call the ‘American Dream.’ "

The renaming of HUD headquarters took place at a ceremony attended by HUD employees. Eddie Eitches, President and Regional Vice President of the American Federation of Government Employees, Local 476, said: "Local 476 is honored that Dr. Weaver is being posthumously honored. Our members will have even more pride as we walk into this building and serve the public in providing housing and community development to our nation."

Weaver, who served as HUD Secretary from 1966 to 1968, was born in Washington, DC, in 1907. He died on July 17, 1997.

In 1961, President John F. Kennedy appointed Weaver to head the Housing and Home Finance Agency – a collection of agencies that included the Federal Housing Administration, Urban Renewal Administration and the Federal National Mortgage Association.

When President Lyndon B. Johnson elevated the agency to Cabinet level in January 1966, he nominated Weaver to become Secretary, rejecting objections from some to the appointment of an African American to the Cabinet.

Weaver served as HUD Secretary until December 1968. During his tenure at HUD, Weaver is credited with increasing the availability of affordable housing, fighting to end housing discrimination by working for the passage of the landmark Fair Housing Act, and launching a comprehensive revitalization of America’s urban centers.

Weaver graduated from Dunbar High School in Washington and went on to earn undergraduate and graduate degrees from Harvard University.

Weaver began his career in public service in 1934 in various positions at the Department of the Interior and as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s ‘Black Cabinet,’ an informal advisory group that focused on jobs, education and equal rights for the nation’s African Americans.

In 1955, Weaver was appointed Deputy Rent Commissioner for the State of New York. He later became the first African American to serve in the New York State Cabinet when he was appointed Commissioner.

After his tenure at HUD, Weaver held teaching positions at Hunter College, Carnegie-Mellon University, Columbia’s Teachers’ College and the New York University School of Education, and also served as President of Baruch College. In the 1970s, he was one of the original directors of the Municipal Assistance Corporation, formed to help rescue New York City from financial crisis.

Weaver was married to Ella V. Haith from 1935 until she died in 1991. They had one son, who died in 1962.


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