Letter from John F. Kennedy to the Speaker of the House
and the President of the Senate, April 18, 1961
Kennedy wanted to establish a Department of Urban Affairs and Housing to elevate the profile of both shoring up existing housing and ensuring adequate future housing for all. Ideally he wanted Robert Weaver, whom he had made administrator of the Housing and Home Finance agency, to serve as secretary of the department. Kennedy’s proposal did not pass Congress, “largely because of Weaver. Aside from Weaver’s color, southerners also resented his strong support of racially integrated housing” (Giglio 106). Weaver would have to wait until the Johnson administration for the Cabinet position (“Lyndon”). Do you think Kennedy’s desire to appoint Weaver was a reasonable political move at the time, or overly optimistic?