From the depths of my heart,
Greetings illustrious, paradigm-shifting, luxurious and creative family on this hallmark 'Black' History Month! With February being the designated month established so many years ago to acknowledge accomplishments and achievements of so called 'Black' people in America, I wanted to dedicate each post this month specifically to my proud heritage as a modern day Hebrew from the tribe of Yahudah (Judah) and to my fellow tribesmen from the other 11 tribes as it relates to the illustrious contributions our people have made to the architecture, engineering, industrial, interior design, and staging industries worldwide! Through this platform, it is my sincerest intention to share some major love with pride, honor, respect, and gratitude to those who went before me and made it possible for me to be a successful Black Hebrew health blogger, business leader/owner, community builder, professional interior designer (soon-to-be Interior Architect) who is on the road to achieving my second Masters with distinction, and anything else I want to be in this world. Getting to the top of the mountain I've been climbing is not only possible because of them, but a reality I remember never to forget everyday of every month of the year. Thanks to all the other beautiful people outside of our ethnicity and culture that fought that fight with us. It's not over, but seeing many of you get there with me is a residual gift that keeps on giving.
From the depths of my heart,
Robert Robinson Taylor - The brilliant architect, educator, and designer of Tuskegee Institute in Alabama who is most commonly credited with being the first accredited Black architect in America. Mr. Taylor was also the first African American architect to enroll and graduate from the prestigious program out of MIT.
Beverly Loraine Green - The highly versatile and amazing architect who was most commonly credited with being the first Black female architect to be accredited in the U.S. With Master's degrees in city planning, housing, and architecture, Ms. Green's project pedigree includes the UNESCO building in Paris, NYU, and several theater and arts projects for Sarah Lawrence College and the University of Arkansas.
Julian Francis Abele - An award winning architectural graduate of University of Pennsylvania who went on to become a prominent Black chief designer at the prestigious offices of Horace Trumbauer. Contributing designs to over 400 buildings, Mr. Abele was most noted for his authorship of designing Duke University Chapel, the Widerner Memorial Library at Harvard, Philadelphia Museum of Art, and so much more.
Paul Revere Williams - The incomparable, legendary, ground-breaking, African American architect who is most credited with designing the glamorous ambiance that Los Angeles has become known for. Mr. Williams learned an unprecedented skill of sketching upside down so that White clients did not have to sit next to him if doing so would make them feel uncomfortable. A true reflection of his civility and decorum.
Lester Bankhead - Brave army veteran who assisted in the liberation of North Africa. Despite initial financial hardship to attend school, Mr. Bankhead went on to become another trend-setting architect who overcame tremendous racial tensions and contributed to the mass appeal and design of Hollywood's most prestigious residences for celebrities. His work also transcended residential into commercial work for churches.
Albert I. Cassell - The renowned architect and builder of the most prominent and historically recognized campus buildings at the appropriately nicknamed 'Black Harvard' - Howard University. Mr. Cassell also served as a professor and Dean for the School of Architecture at Howard while contributing plans and designs for Morgan State, Virginia Union University, and five key buildings for Tuskegee Institute.
Wallace Rayfield - A pioneer in the trade, Mr. Rayfield was one of the first premiere Black architecture students and graduates from the very prestigious Columbia University. Recruited by Booker T. Washington, he became another luminary architect whose enduring work is still displayed on the campus at Tuskegee Institute. His influence is reflected nationally and expanded international borders.
Norma Merrick Sklarek - Pioneering Black female production architect responsible for the actual building and technical oversight of complex projects with modern architectural geniuses Frank Gehry and other iconic White architects. Known as the Rosa Parks of architecture, Ms. Sklarek's landmark projects included the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, Pacific Design Center or the 'Blue Whale', and the famous Terminal 1 at LAX. She served as mentor and guidance counselor to those that followed in her footsteps.
J. Max Bond, Jr. - Barrier-breaking architect and professor who was one of the first Black graduates from both of Harvard University's Bachelors and Masters degree programs for Architecture. Internationally-recognized, Mr. Bond headed up architectural projects such as the Bolgatanga Regional Library in Ghana, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, and more.
Lorenzo "Pete" Williams - Highly commissioned architect by Lyndon B. Johnson who remained committed to using his architectural gifts to provide beautiful quality churches and facilities for low to moderate income clients and respected their input to each project. Founding member of the Monitor Club that supported other Black men in gaining social, financial, and economic opportunities.