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Wendell E. Pritchett

government administrator, writer, and educator, was born in Washington, D.C., the second son of Mortimer Grover Weaver, a postal clerk, and Florence Weaver Freeman. Robert's grandfather, Robert Tanner Freeman, was the first African American to graduate from Harvard Dental School (in 1869), and he practiced in Washington, D.C. Robert grew up in the middle-class, integrated neighborhood of Brookland and graduated from the prestigious Dunbar High School in 1925.

Robert then enrolled at Harvard College, which his older brother, Mortimer, also attended. Among his friends in college were Ralph Bunche, William Henry Hastie, Rayford W. Logan, and John P. Davis. Robert and his brother had intended to become lawyers and open a joint practice, but when Mortimer died suddenly at age twenty-three, Robert decided to pursue an economics degree. He received his bachelor's degree in 1929 and his master ...