This introductory chapter discusses how Robert Clifton Weaver helped shape American racial and urban policy. A member of a privileged group of upper middle-class African Americans that scholar W. E. B. DuBois dubbed the “Talented Tenth,” Weaver was the first of the small number of black “New Dealers” hired by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in his effort to bring the country out of the Great Depression. After World War II, Weaver developed a new approach to race relations known as racial liberalism, and he held a series of high-level positions in public and private agencies that were working to promote racial cooperation in American cities. In the field of civil rights, Weaver was a leader of the NAACP's endeavor to promote racial integration, and he played a crucial role in the organization's legal victory against restrictive covenants in the Supreme Court case Shelley v. Kraemer. A prolific writer, Weaver wrote four books and dozens of articles for scholarly and popular journals, and he published two important studies on black America: Negro Labor: A National Problem (1946) and The Negro Ghetto (1948). Through these works, Weaver contributed greatly to the expanding sociology of black America, and his writings influenced a generation of scholars.
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