architect, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the eighth of eleven children of Charles Sylvester Abele and Mary Jones, a washerwoman and milliner. Charles Able changed the spelling, although not the pronunciation, of his surname to Abele after mustering out of the Union army following the end of the Civil War. Charles, who worked as a carpenter and laborer at the U.S. Treasury Customs House, a sought-after patronage job, and as a porter, died when Julian was twelve. Mary Jones Able was a descendant of Absalom Jones, the first African American Protestant Episcopal priest. Julian and his siblings were fourth generation Philadelphians and were expected by their parents to achieve recognition, marry well, and assume their rightful place in Olde Philadelphia society. Julian's oldest brother, Robert, was one of the first African American graduates of Hahnemann Medical College and a cofounder in 1907 of Mercy Hospital the only ...
Dreck Spurlock Wilson
Mikael D. Kriz
architect, was born Walter Thomas Bailey in Kewanee, Illinois, to Emanuel Bailey and Lucy Reynolds. After attending Kewanee High School, Walter enrolled at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1900. There he studied in the architecture program, which was then part of the College of Engineering. The program at Illinois differed from those at most other architecture schools in the country: many schools followed in the tradition of the École des Beaux-Arts, emphasizing classical modes and principles of architecture, but the program at Illinois was influenced largely by German polytechnic methods of teaching. At Illinois, Bailey received an extensive education in the science of construction and in the history of architecture. Construction courses gave students both theoretical and practical training, while courses in the history of architecture taught them periods and styles such as Egyptian and Islamic, as well as classical.
As a student Bailey was ...
the second African American female licensed architect, worked in both architecture and structural engineering firms in Chicago, before relocating to Sao Paulo, Brazil, where her career spanned another thirty-nine years.
Brown was born in Topeka, Kansas as the middle of five children of Carl Collins and Georgia Louise Watkins Harris. Her father was a shipping clerk in a downtown department store. Her mother, a former schoolteacher, was an accomplished classical pianist. The children attended an integrated elementary school and Seaman High School. As a child Brown loved sketching and the opportunity to work with her older brother Bryant on machinery on their semi-rural farm. One day Bryant, who had met some architecture students at Kansas State University where he studied electrical engineering, sat at the kitchen table talking with Brown about architecture as they looked up the word “architect” in the dictionary.
From 1936 to 1938 Brown attended ...
architect, planner and developer, was born in Towson, Maryland, and grew up in Baltimore, the third child of Albert Truman and Charlotte Cassell. His father drove a coal truck and played trumpet for the Salvation Army Band; his mother brought in extra income doing washing. As a 14-year-old, Cassell expressed an ambition to build at Douglass High, a segregated public vocational school. While studying carpentry he enrolled in a drafting course with Ralph Victor Cook. Cook became a mentor to Cassell and encouraged him to pursue a college education in architecture at Cornell University, where Cook had been an early African American graduate of engineering.
Cassell entered Cornell in 1915, but two years into the program, World War I interrupted his studies. Cassell enlisted in the U.S. Army. In 1919 he returned to the United States from France with an honorable discharge Because Cornell ...
De Witt S. Dykes
minister and registered architect, was born in Gadsden, Alabama, the second male and the fifth of six children born to Mary Anna Wade, a homemaker, and the Reverend Henry Sanford Roland Dykes, a lay minister in the Methodist Church (later the United Methodist Church), a brick mason, and construction contractor.
In the early 1900s the family moved to Newport, Tennessee, which was a racially segregated small town with a semirural atmosphere. Henry Dykes served as a circuit riding minister, conducting services on alternate Sundays at Methodist churches in three communities, including one at Newport, but earned enough to support his family as the head of a construction firm on weekdays until his death in 1945 Henry Dykes taught brick masonry and construction skills to not only his sons but also others By age fourteen Dykes had become a master mason by age seventeen he was a ...
architect, teacher. and education administrator, was born in Belvoir, Chatham County, North Carolina, one of six children of William Gaston Snipes, a white farmer, and Mary Foushee Edwards, a black homemaker and farm worker. Some uncertainty exists as to Edwards's precise year of birth, with contradictory U.S. Census records allowing for a birth date sometime between 1874 and 1879. Census records show that his parents were legally registered as living side by side on different land parcels, because interracial marriage was illegal in North Carolina during this time. Edwards's earliest education was given at home and at local schools, and he worked during the evenings as a barber and a farmhand to help support the family.
Edwards earned enough money to attend Agricultural & Mechanical College for the Colored Race (now known as North Carolina A&T State University) at Greensboro in 1896 After amassing sufficient ...
architect, politician, and community leader, was born Harvey Bernard Gantt in Charleston, South Carolina, the first of five children of Wilhelmenia Gordon and Christopher C. Gantt. His father was a skilled mechanic at the Charleston Naval Shipyard and an active member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and he encouraged his son to speak out against the segregated society in which they lived. Gantt graduated in 1960 from Burke High School, where he was salutatorian of his class and captain of the football team. Only a month before graduation, he helped twenty-two other student leaders from the all-black school stage a sit-in demonstration at the S. H. Kress lunch counter. In Gantt's later assessment, the action “started a change in the minds of the whole [city]” and “ultimately ended up in a movement that spread throughout all of Charleston” (Haessly, 47).
the first African American woman licensed as an architect in the United States, was born in Chicago, the only child of James A. Greene, a lawyer, and Vera Greene, a homemaker.
Greene received a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1936 and a Master of Science degree in City Planning and Housing in 1937 from the same school. After graduation she was hired by Kenneth Roderick O'Neal, the first black architect to open an office in downtown Chicago (he later hired the nation's second licensed black female architect, Louise Harris Brown). In December 1942 Greene became the first officially licensed black female architect in the state of Illinois and in the nation After working in O Neal s office Greene applied for and was eventually hired for a position at the Chicago Housing Authority This was something of a ...
architect, builder, businessman, and teacher, was born to Phillip Anderson Lankford and Nancy Ella Johnson Lankford, farmers in Potosi, Missouri. He attended public schools in Potosi and worked as a young apprentice to a German mechanic for four years. From 1889 to 1895 Lankford attended Lincoln Institute (Lincoln University) in Jefferson City, Missouri, where he studied mechanical engineering and blacksmithing. He worked at several jobs to cover school costs, including at a blacksmith shop in St. Louis where he became part owner.
From 1895 to 1896 Lankford studied at Tuskegee Institute in Tuskegee, Alabama, graduating with a certificate in steam fitting while also taking courses in chemistry and physics and working. It may have been while Lankford was at Tuskegee that he became aware of the possibility of architecture as a profession for African Americans. During 1897 Lankford and his younger brother Arthur Edward Lankford ...
architect and educator, was born in Cumberland County, Virginia, to Julia Trent and William Henry Moses Sr., a Baptist minister who moved the family of six children several times, living in Virginia; Washington, DC; South Carolina,; Tennessee; Texas; New York City; and finally Philadelphia. Moses Jr. attended public school in Philadelphia and graduated from Central High School in 1922, showing an inclination for drawing. After two years at Penn State, Moses withdrew when the family could not afford the costs. For the next seven years he worked in a variety of jobs in architecture, first for the noted African American architect Vertner Woodson Tandy and later as a draftsman for Louis E. Jallade.
In 1931 Moses returned to Penn State and graduated in 1933 with a bachelors of science in Architecture He worked briefly for the Public Works Administration in New York before joining the ...
Susan G. Pearl
architect, was born in Montgomery, Alabama, the son of Sarah Pittman, a laundress. The identity of his father is unknown. Raised by his widowed mother and educated in the black public schools of Montgomery, William enrolled in 1892 at Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute in Alabama, completing his studies in mechanical and architectural drawing in 1897. With financial support from Tuskegee's principal, Booker T. Washington, Pittman continued his education at Drexel Institute in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, earning a diploma in architectural drawing in 1900. Returning to Tuskegee as an instructor, he assisted in the planning and measured drawing of several of the buildings on the campus.
In May 1905, dissatisfied with his faculty status and unable to get along with his supervisor, Pittman left Tuskegee for Washington, D.C., and began work as a draftsman in the office of architect John A. Lankford Within a ...
Angela R. Sidman
architect, was born in Washington, D.C., to parents whose names and professions are unknown. As a child, he spent time with his grandfather, a bootblack who worked near the U.S. capitol building. Robinson would listen to the congressmen exchange banter while they had their shoes shined. In 1916 Robinson graduated from the M Street High School and began studying at the Pennsylvania Museum and School of Industrial Design in Philadelphia. One year later, as the United States was entering World War I, Robinson left school to enlist in the U.S. Army Field Artillery Corps, 167th Brigade. He served in France and was in Paris for the Armistice in 1918. The city's grand buildings and expert urban planning made such an impression on Robinson that he decided to pursue the study of architecture upon his return to the United States.
In 1919 Robinson returned to Philadelphia and entered ...
architect and educator, was born in Harlem, New York, the only child of Walter Merrick, a doctor, and Amy (Merrick) Willoughby of the West Indies. Sklarek was a precocious child who demonstrated a keen interest in science and math. She also had a natural talent for fine art, which she expressed through sketches, murals, and painted furniture. Her parents recognized her talents at an early age and encouraged her participation in activities that would develop her natural skills. Sklarek often spent time with her father fishing, house painting, and doing carpentry work—unconventional activities for most girls in the 1930s.
After she received her primary education at a Catholic elementary school Sklarek transferred to the New York Public school system from which she graduated A high math test score earned her admission to the prestigious Hunter High School an all girls magnet school in Brooklyn Sklarek s excelled in ...
New York State's first registered African American architect and the most celebrated black architect in New York City during the Harlem Renaissance, was born Vertner Woodson Tandy in Lexington, Kentucky, the son of Emma Brice and Henry A. Tandy. Although his father was a very successful contractor, the young Tandy was more interested in the design of buildings.
In 1902, Tandy attended Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, where he studied architecture. Tuskegee first offered architectural courses in its mechanical industries department in 1892 following Booker T. Washington's recruitment of black MIT graduate Robert R. Taylor. Tandy received his certificate in architecture in 1905. He also served on the faculty before leaving. Tandy then relocated from Alabama to Ithaca, New York, where he attended Cornell University in the architecture program. In 1906 he and six friends known today as the Seven Jewels started the first black ...
the first academically trained African American architect and the first black graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), was born in Wilmington, North Carolina, to Emily Still and Henry Taylor a literate slave who given virtual freedom by his white father and master prospered independently as a merchant carpenter and coastal trader Little is known about Emily Still other than that she was described as a mulatto and was ten years younger than her husband Presaging the future career of his son Henry Taylor also constructed a number of businesses and homes in Wilmington Robert R Taylor studied at Wilmington s Gregory Institute an American Missionary Association school where he was taught by white New Englanders who were ambitious for their charges Though it is possible that the Gregory Institute s teachers pointed Taylor to MIT the impetus might have come from other Wilmingtonians A wealthy white boy ...
Timothy M. Broughton
grassroots organizer, architect, and minister, was born Jasper Jacob Thomas in Mobile County, Alabama, the youngest of three boys. Little is known about Thomas's mother; his father, whose name is not known, was a successful construction worker, a trade that quickly became one of Thomas's passions. Thomas married Mary Whisper in the early 1900s, and they had seven daughters. Thomas also had a son prior to this marriage, but there is no information about the details of this union.
Thomas traveled widely, visiting England and France. In Africa he learned about different architectural styles and cultural, social, and political organization. He admired and corresponded with Marcus Garvey, and in Mobile he publicly organized and supported black pride and self-sufficiency projects.
In 1948 Thomas was instrumental in both organizing and directing the strategy for defeating the Boswell Amendment the most racially discriminatory voting law passed in ...
John F. Marszalek
The son of Johnson Chesnutt and Page (Harrison) Whittaker, Miller Fulton Whittaker grew up in Sumter and Orangeburg, South Carolina, and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. He attended the Colored Normal Industrial, Agricultural, and Mechanical College of South Carolina (now South Carolina State University). In 1913 he received a B.S. degree in architecture from Kansas State College (later Kansas State University). In 1928 he received an M.S. degree in architecture from the same institution. He also studied at Harvard University in Massachusetts and Cornell University in New York.
Whittaker joined the faculty of South Carolina Agricultural and Mechanical College in 1913 as a member of both the Drawing and Physics Departments. From 1925 to 1932 he held the position of dean of the Mechanical Arts Department. He became a registered architect in South Carolina in 1918 and in Georgia in 1928 He superintended the design and construction of all the ...
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 ...