Thursday, August 30, 2007

When PittyPat first raised the subject of Robert C. Weaver to me, I had little idea of the extent of his legacy in the area of Housing reform. Then as now, black folk were facing a crisis of accomodation in New York. The critical nature of the conflict became most clear to New Yorkers in the Dorsey v Stuvesanttown case which reached its conclusion, after 5 years in the summer/fall of 1947. The verdict, which came down against the 3 African American plaintiffs left Stuvesanttown free to set its own discriminatory policies. This decision galvanized the forces of opposition, and that fall Weaver, the lead authority on northern housing discrimination, allied himself with Charles Abrams of the ACLU , Will Maslow and Hortense Gabel to form The New York Committee on Discrimination in Housing......they in turn lobbied successfully for the groundbreaking Brown-Isaacs bill(passed in 1951) that made it illegal to discriminate in housing developments assisted by the government. Weaver's research for "The Negro Ghetto" would provide much of the scholarly underpinning for the movement.
Years later he would become the first black nominated to a cabinet level position, during the Johnson administration when he was made head of the newly formed HUD agency.
Check out wikipedia story

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