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Recap of “A Chicano Patchwork”: Robert Weaver Homes

During an era of urban renewal, the City of Austin was just as interested in clearing “slums” and “blight” as any other city, resulting in displacement in all segregated communities. On April 11, 1968, President Lyndon Baines Johnson signed the Fair Housing Act, which was designed to address racial discrimination within the housing market. Because President Johnson was connected to Austin, he decided to use the city as experimental grounds for a housing program for low-income, racially integrated communities. The U.S. Housing and Urban Development Director Robert Weaver had also previously raised questions about the enacted urban renewal in Austin, so the program was a reasonable opportunity to demonstrate cooperation with the federal government.

January 16, 1964 Acknowledgment from Director Robert Weaver
September 12, 1968 Resolution to Participate in Federal Housing Program

However, one does not transform a racially segregated city into successfully sustained racial integration without friction. Therefore, after the passage of the Fair Housing Act of 1968, the city held a special meeting on May 17, 1968 to approve an ordinance that amended the City Charter to include the new federal guidelines. Many constituents argued that the new guidelines were government efforts to invade the sovereignty of private property ownership and infringing on personal freedoms.

May 17, 1968 Objections to the Amending the City Charter

The fervor against the adoption of the ordinance was such that another special meeting was held on August 12, 1968. At that time, an ordinance was approved to appeal the proposed ordinance and declare an emergency. The city council decided to hold a special election on October 19, 1968 to allow voters to determine whether the local rules would be amended. The voters decided against the amendment.

August 12, 1968 Emergency Declaration
October 19, 1968 Election Results

However, to receive federal funding, the city was responsible for complying with federal guidelines. Therefore, by December 30, 1968, the city had agreed to include the required language, and the community was built. The cul-de-sac was named after Robert Weaver to commemorate those efforts.

Variance Approval on November 25, 1968

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