Edited by Gerald Boerner

    

    
Commentary:

JerryPhoto_thumb2_thumbThe 1960s was a groundbreaking era on many fronts. It saw a major push for women’s rights in all areas of life, especially the workplace and in the control of their bodies. Students were pushing for more say in their college education, especially curriculum. The United States was fighting an unpopular war in Southeast Asia — Vietnam. And, of course, there was the demand of African Americans and Hispanics for equal rights in fact, not just in theory. Martin Luther King, Jr. led marches throughout the South against the KKK and Jim Crow Laws. In California, Caesar Chavez was leading Hispanic marchers in the Table Grape Boycott to win better working conditions for California’s migrant field workers..

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A new, young president, John F. Kennedy, came on the scene with a new vision for our country. He called for our people to contribute to the betterment of the needy in other countries through Service by Peace Corp volunteers. He called on our science and engineering community to put a man on the moon, and return him safely to earth, by the end of the decade of the 1960s. But he also wanted to help improve the lot of those living in the oft-neglected urban areas of our country. To this end, he proposed a new, cabinet-level Department of Housing and Urban Development. But the Congress dominated by Republicans and conservative Southern Democrats blocked him on this move.

The idea of a separate department to provide better housing to urban dwellers was not dead. The torch was picked up and carried by President Lyndon B. Johnson following the assassination of JFK. Johnson pushed multiple pieces of Civil Rights legislation through the Congress, including the Voting Rights Act. In 1965, he was able to achieve passage of a bill to create the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). As the new cabinet-level Secretary of the department, he appointed the long time urban affairs expert and administrator — Robert C. Weaver. Weaver was confirmed by the Senate and became the first African American Cabinet Member. He paved the way for other African Americans and Hispanics to make their rightful contributions to the government of this great country.

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But now, let’s get started with our exploration of the first Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, who, by the way, was an African American. Weaver was well qualified for the post by his education and experience in government from the time of the Black Cabinet created by FDR during the years of the New Deal. So, let us begin… GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2012 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

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Quotations Related to Urban:

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“Companies operating in urban communities have a tremendous ripple effect.”
— Michael Porter

“Everyone’s looking to the urban scene for inspiration now.”
— Robin Gibb

“How does he support Clinton’s urban agenda? He doesn’t know what it is.”
— Maxine Waters

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