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Article

Boyd Childress

From the ground up African Americans have always contributed to the design and construction of buildings in America Sadly the participation of blacks in architecture has been one not wanting of ability but wanting of opportunity African American slaves created much of the built environment in colonial America Slaves were often skilled artisans who widely contributed to the construction of much of the plantation South Even in the northern states African Americans did construction work although few had the opportunity to design and supervise construction projects Blacks found few outlets in construction after the Civil War As industrialization expanded blacks were excluded from trade unions and recessions eliminated most economic opportunities for African Americans Only with the beginnings of education for African Americans did the professional field of architecture hold any promise for blacks and even that was limited After Massachusetts Institute of Technology MIT established the first architecture curriculum ...

Article

Donna M. DeBlasio

There are two distinct topics in African American architecture the places in which African Americans lived and the places built or designed by African Americans The two might or might not be one and the same Depending on their status African Americans often inhabited places that were designed by whites who were building in their own mostly European traditions This was especially true of slaves On large plantations house slaves lived with the family in the big house while the rest lived in slave quarters that were typically designed by whites On small farms and in urban areas slaves frequently shared the same living space as their masters The design of the structures may have been European in origin but often African American masons and carpenters constructed the buildings Thus in discussing African American architecture in early America it is difficult to separate their building traditions from the dominant white ...

Article

Caroline DeVoe

businessman, landowner, farmer, and lynching victim, was born into slavery in Abbeville, South Carolina, the youngest son of Thomas and Louisa, slaves on the plantation of Ben Crawford in Abbeville, South Carolina. After Emancipation and Ben Crawford's death, his widow Rebecca may have bequeathed land to her former slave, Thomas, Anthony's father. Thomas continued to acquire land, and in 1873 he purchased 181 acres of fertile land from Samuel McGowan, a former Confederate general and South Carolina Supreme Court Justice. Thomas Crawford's “homeplace” was located in an alluvial valley, approximately seven miles west of the town of Abbeville. The rich land was flanked on the east by Little River and on the west by Penny Creek.

While Crawford's brothers worked the family farm Anthony was sent to school walking seven miles to and from school each day Seventeen year old Anthony was ...

Article

Suzanne Blier

Much of Dogon art consists of striking ritual masks made with carved wood and other materials. Dogon architecture conveys symbolic relationships in Dogon society and is considered one of the most distinctive styles in West Africa.

The Dogon live in the rugged yet beautiful Bandiagara escarpment of south central Mali. They migrated to this remote cliff area around the fifteenth century c.e.. in part to preserve their cultural beliefs and institutions when the Islamic Mali empire was at its height. When the Dogon arrived at the Bandiagara escarpment, they found architectural and other remains of earlier civilizations, among these the Toloy (third century to second century b.c.e.) and the Tellem (eleventh century to fifteenth century c.e. Dogon building weaving iron working and pottery traditions reflect both an interest in these and other earlier regional art forms and an influence from contemporary regional political and cultural centers ...

Article

Glenn Allen Knoblock

Civil War soldier and Medal of Honor recipient, was born in Austin, Texas, the son of slaves Jack and Emily Holland. Milton had three known brothers, Toby, William, and James, all part of “the third generation of African-Americans born as slaves” on the Holland Family Plantation run by Bird Holland later the Texas secretary of state Arlington National Cemetery Perhaps because of his light complexion and the fact that he was later freed and sent to school in the North Bird Holland may have been the real father of Milton as well as his brothers William and James a fact speculated upon by some historians Bird Holland would later free Milton William and James and send them north to Ohio in the late 1850s Here Milton Holland attended the Albany Manual Labor Academy an educational institution that accepted blacks and women This school was ...

Article

Dreck Spurlock Wilson

architect, was born in Los Angeles, California, to Chester Stanley Williams and Lila Wright Churchill. Orphaned by the age of four, he was raised by foster parents. His foster father, Charles Clarkson, was a bank janitor. Paul was one of only a few African American students at Sentous Elementary School on Pico Street. While at Los Angeles Polytechnic High School, Paul decided to become an architect after reading about the African American architect William Sidney Pittman, Booker T. Washington's son-in-law and a graduate of Tuskegee Institute and Drexel Institute in Philadelphia.

Paul graduated high school in 1912, and the following year he went to work for Wilbur Cook Jr., a landscape architect. Two years later he took a job as a draftsman for noted Pasadena residential architect Reginald Johnson, and in 1919 Hollywood architect Arthur Kelly hired him as a junior ...