The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) was created under President Lyndon B. Johnson on Sept. 9, 1965 to allow the federal government to tackle urban problems, including substandard and deteriorating housing, in a coordinated manner. It is headed by a Secretary who reports directly to the President of the United States and is a member of the presidential cabinet.
Since its inception, HUD has had six Black secretaries:
Robert Clifton Weaver (Dec. 29, 1907 – July 17, 1997) was an American economist, academic, and political administrator who served as the first Secretary of HUD from 1966 to 1968 when the department was newly established by President Lyndon B. Johnson. Weaver was the first Black to be appointed to a U.S. cabinet-level position. Prior to his appointment, Weaver had served in the administration of President John F. Kennedy. During Franklin D. Roosevelt’s presidency, he was one of 45 prominent African Americans appointed to positions and helped make up the Black Cabinet, an informal group of Black policy advisers.
Samuel Riley Pierce Jr. (Sept. 8, 1922 – Oct. 31, 2000) was an American attorney and politician who served as Secretary of HUD from Jan. 23, 1981, until Jan. 20, 1989, during the administration of President Ronald Reagan. Pierce was an assistant U.S. Attorney in New York from 1953 to 1955. A lifelong Republican, he first entered government when Dwight D. Eisenhower was president. Pierce was appointed by Governor Nelson Rockefeller to serve as a judge of the New York City Court of General Sessions, from 1959–1960. Pierce once argued before the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Patricia Roberts Harris (May 31, 1924 – March 23, 1985) was an American politician, diplomat and legal scholar. She served as the sixth Secretary of HUD and as the 13th U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) from 1979 to 1981 under President Jimmy Carter. Previously, she had been appointed U.S. Ambassador to Luxembourg from 1965 to 1967 under President Lyndon B. Johnson. A member of the Democratic Party, Harris was the first Black woman ever to serve in a presidential cabinet, as well as the first to be a U.S. Ambassador.
Alphonso R. Jackson (born Sept. 9, 1945) served as the 13th U.S. Secretary of HUD. He was nominated by President George W. Bush on Aug. 28, 2004, and confirmed by the Senate on Aug. 31, 2004. Jackson began his professional career in St. Louis as an assistant professor at the University of Missouri, St. Louis. In 1977 he was named the city’s director of public safety. Active in both Democratic and Republican circles in the city for many years, he even ran for a spot as St. Louis’s municipal revenue collector. He also worked for the U.S. Senate campaign of Jack Danforth, a Republican. His rising profile earned him the attention of officials in Washington, and in 1987 he was made the director of the U..S Department of Public and Assisted Housing for Washington, D.C.
Benjamin S. Carson Sr. (born Sept. 18, 1951) is an American retired neurosurgeon and politician who served as the 17th Secretary of HUD from 2017 to 2021. A pioneer in the field of neurosurgery, he was a candidate for president in the 2016 Republican primaries. Carson became the director of pediatric neurosurgery at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center in 1984 at age 33, then the youngest chief of pediatric neurosurgery in the United States. In 1987, he gained significant fame after leading a team of surgeons in the first known separation of conjoined twins joined at the back of the head. On Dec. 5, 2016, Trump announced that he would nominate Carson to the position of secretary of HUD.
Marcia Louise Fudge (born Oct. 29, 1952) is an American attorney and politician serving as the 18th US Secretary of HUD since 2021. A member of the Democratic Party, she served as the U.S. representative from Ohio’s 11th congressional district from 2008 to 2021. Prior to being elected to Congress, Fudge was the mayor of Warrensville Heights, Ohio, from 2000 to Nov. 18, 2008. Her 1999 campaign was her first run for any elected office and was the town’s first female and Black mayor. She served as chair of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) in the 113th Congress. Then President-Elect Joe Biden nominated Fudge to the top position at HUD on December 10, 2020. She was confirmed by the US Senate on Feb. 4, 2021. Upon taking her oath of office, she became the second Black woman to serve in that position.