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‘Master Builder’ Of Great Society Dies


Robert C. Weaver, an educator and economist who became the nation’s first black Cabinet member when President Johnson appointed him Secretary of Housing and Urban Development in 1965, has died. He was 89.

Weaver died Thursday at his home in Manhattan, according to his sister-in-law, Ruth Haith.

She did not provide a cause of death.

“He was intelligent, alive and vibrant, and he was a man Johnson believed would do it right,” said Jack Valenti, who was a special assistant to President Johnson when Weaver was appointed. “He was interested in doing a job rather than promoting himself.”

Called by some a “master builder of the Great Society,” Weaver was a specialist on labor, urban renewal, federal aid to education as well as housing issues. Beginning in 1933, he held numerous posts in federal and state government and with foundations and organizations.

HUD secretary Andrew Cuomo said in a statement late Friday that Weaver “put the bricks and mortar on President Johnson’s blueprint for a great society.”

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