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Tag: Secretary of Housing and Urban Development

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

[ 2670 Words ]
    

    

Quotations Related to Urban:

[ http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/urban.html ]

    

“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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Edited by Gerald Boerner

    

    
Introductory Comments:

JerryPhoto_thumb2_thumb_thumbThe events of this day include several related to the achievements of women and minority groups. It is also the day of several patriotic events of pride and/or challenge related to the winter encampment of the Continental Army troops in Valley Forge during the severe cold of 1778. And it is the day on which the “Man in Black”, western singer Johnny Cash, released his best-selling album, “Folsom Prison Blues”. But many of today’s most important events relate to the discrimination against the Jews and the overcoming these prejudices by well-qualified African American leaders.

Folsom State Prison

Of course, being a country music fan and one that loves the song stylings of Johnny Cash, the release of one of his albums was a high point in my life in 1968 when this album finally arrived. After struggling with a drug habit and serving a prison term himself, Johnny Cash welcomed the opportunity to entertain the men in this prison. To put this event in context, the song on this album came out and were calm compared with the turbulent events going on at that time in our country. This was the year of “flower power” and we would see the release of the Beatles’ White Album later that year. It was also the year of losses — Robert (“Bobby”) Kennedy would be assassinated in the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles after winning the California Presidential Primary and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., would be assassinated at that motel in Memphis, Tennessee. This was the “best of time, and the worst of times” to borrow a phrase from Charles Dickens.

This was the day in which several achievements need to be honored. Sarah Caldwell became the first woman to conduct the orchestra at the Metropolitan Opera in 1976. In 1978, six women were admitted as candidates in the astronaut program at NASA. These women — Anna Fisher, Shannon Lucid, Judith Resnik, Sally Ride, Rhea Seddon and Kathryn Sullivan — would all fly on various space shuttle missions. Quite a feat. 

African Americans also made some significant headway in some of today’s events as well. Charles Weaver was appointed as Secretary of the new Department of Housing and Urban Development by Lyndon Johnson in 1966. This was a crowning event for Weaver who had started out as FDR’s advisor on Urban Affairs in several New Deal agencies. He had earned three degrees in Urban Affairs from Harvard University. He also served on FDR’s Black Cabinet with 45 other African Americans; this group advised FDR on many issues over the pre-war years. During John F. Kennedy’s administration, he was “tagged” to become Secretary of the new Department of Urban Affairs proposed by JFK, but when this proposal was defeated by a coalition of Republicans and Southern Democrats, he continued to be JFK’s advisor on urban issues. After Kennedy’s assassination, LBJ was able to get a new Department of Housing and Urban Development through the Congress and appoint Weaver as its first Secretary. Since this was a Presidential Cabinet-level position, Weaver became the first African American on the cabinet.

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In 1990, Douglas Wilder of Virginia was sworn in as the first Black governor of a state. This paved the way for other Blacks to get elected to various posts, including the U.S. Senate. African Americans were making their mark on this country.

On another note, the Anti-Semitic attitudes of the European military was highlighted by the Dreyfus Affair in France in 1898. Captain Dreyfus, a Jew, was accused of treason by the prejudiced officers that he fought with. He was convicted on these charges and sent to prison. The writer and crusader, Émile Zola took up his cause and wrote an open letter (J’Accuse) to the newspaper L’Aurore in Paris. This served to rally public opinion and put pressure to overturn Captain Dreyfus’ conviction. They were successful and Dreyfus’ conviction was overturned.

The real lesson from this incident is rather simple — the officer corps of the French and German general command were racist and anti-Semitic. The Dreyfus Affair foreshadowed the events of almost half a century later in Nazi Germany. As the Holocaust was implemented in Germany, the French military in the Vichy government wholeheartedly cooperated in the finding and exporting Jews from France to meet their “Final Solution” in the Nazi death camps. Such deep-seated discrimination is dangerous in any society, but even more so when carried out the prevailing authorities, military or civilian. Let’s take a hard look at our own attitudes in these interactions.

Anyway, it is now time to proceed with our examination of the notable events of this day… GLB

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

[ 1311 Words ]
    

    

Quotations Related to (Valley) Forge:

[ http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/forge.html ]

    

“I will, from this day strive to forge togetherness out of our differences.”
— Josefa Iloilo

“The achievements we forge in this place and in our nation will not be those of one person or one party.”
— Paul Martin

“The transfer is a monumental occasion as the Iraqi people take control of their government and their future and forge ahead with creating a society governed by the tenets of life, liberty and freedom.”
— Jim Gerlach

“The good Lord made us all out of iron. Then he turns up the heat to forge some of us into steel.”
— Marie Osmond

“From the bitter cold winter at Valley Forge, to the mountains of Afghanistan and the deserts of Iraq, our soldiers have courageously answered when called, gone where ordered, and defended our nation with honor.”
— Solomon Ortiz

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