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Researching African Americans & architecture: General resources

Recommended resources on African American architects, builders, communities, and related issues, providing location info for print resources and links for digital resources.

Other resources

200+ Black Creators (list of architects and designers, via Airtable) 

Beyond the Built Environment, advocacy group. See: "Great Diverse Designers Library," which list women and people of color in the design fields.

The Directory of African American Architects (also includes Landscape architects, Interior designers, Faculty and hard-to-find documents and information. The original print version is at NA53 .G724 1991)

National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA)

"Shifting the landscape: Black architects and planners, 1968 to now" (2018). Symposium highlights and list of resources (videos, books, associations, and organizations), via National Museum of African American History & Culture (Smithsonian).

Where Are My People? Black in Architecture,” research report compiled by ACSA (Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture)

Recommended for all architectural research

Specialized resources on related topics

Center for the Study of Practice, University of Cincinnati, African American architects and their education: a demographic study, Winter 2009 (Full text via BlackArch)

Dozier, Richard K., “The Black Architect at Yale,” Design Quarterly, #82/83, 1971, p. 16-18 (PDF via Jstor)

Sutton, Sharon E., When ivory towers were black : a story about race in America's cities and universities, Empire State Editions, NA2300.C635 S87 2017

Wilkins, Craig L., “Race and diversity: African Americans in architecture education,” in Joan Ockman, Architecture School: Three centuries of education architects in North America, MIT Press, NA2105.A73 2012

Cheng, Irene, et al (editors), Race and modern architecture: a critical history from the enlightenment to the present, University of Pittsburgh Press, NA2543.R37 R336 2020 (Ebook also available via Proquest Ebook Central)

Dudley, Tara, “Seeking the ideal African-American interior: the Walker residences and salon in New York,” Studies in the Decorative Arts, #1, 2006, p. 80-112 (PDF via Jstor)

Mitchell, Melvin L., African American architects: embracing culture and building urban communities, Melvin L. Mitchell [publisher], NA738.N5 M58 2020

Mooney, Barbara Burlison, “The Comfortable tasty framed cottage: an African American architectural iconography,” Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, #1, 2002, p. 48-67 (PDF via Jstor)

Nelson, Louis P., "The architectures of black identity: buildings, slavery, and freedom in the Caribbean and the American South," Winterthur Portfolio, Summer 2011, p. 177-193 (via Jstor)

O'Malley. Nancy, "The pursuit of freedom: the evolution of Kinkeadtown, an African American post-Civil War neighborhood in Lexington, Kentucky," Winterthur Portfolio, #37, 2002, p. 187-217 (PDF via Jstor)

Travis, Jack, African American Architects in Current Practice, Princeton Architectural Press, NA738.N5A45 1991

Vlach, John Michael, Back of the big house: the architecture of plantation slavery, University of North Carolina Press, E443.V58 1993

Wellington, Paul, Black built: history and architecture in the Black community, Paul Wellington [publisher], NA738.N5 W45 2019

Wilson, Mabel O., Negro building: Black Americans in the world of fairs and museums, University of California Press, E185.53.A1W55 2012

Wilson, Mabel O., "White by design," in Darby English & Charlotte Barat, Among others : Blackness at MoMA, Museum of Modern Art, N8232.E565 2019

The Directory of African American Architects (also includes Landscape architects, Interior designers, Faculty and hard-to-find documents and information. The original print version is at NA53 .G724 1991)

Kaplan, Victoria, Structural inequality: black architects in the United States, Rowman & Littlefield, NA738.N5 K37 2006

McCann, Hannah, "0.2%: the number of black women architects has quadrupled in 15 years, but four times a fraction of a percent doesn't amount to much," Architect, March 2007, p. 62-65  

Mitchell, Melvin L., The crisis of the African-American architect: conflicting cultures of architecture and (Black) power, Writers Advantage, NA738.N5M57 2003

Sokol, David, "Minority report," Architectural Record, May 2009, p. 77-92

Barton, Craig Evan, Sites of memory: perspectives on architecture and race, Princeton Architectural Press, E185.86 .S595 2001

Brown, Adrienne, The black skyscraper : architecture and the perception of race, Johns Hopkins University Press,  NA2543.R37B76 2017

Dozier, Richard K., "The black architectural experience in America," AIA Journal, July 1976, p. 162-168

Gooden, Mario, Dark space: architecture, representation, black identity, Columbia Books on Architecture and the City,, NA2543.R37 G66 2016

Grant, Bradford C., “Accommodation and resistance: the built environment and the African American experience,” in Thomas A. Dutton & Lisa H. Mann, Reconstructing architecture: critical discourses and social practices, University of Minnesota Press, 1996 (ebook via Ebrary)

Harris, Suzette Harris, Little white houses: how the postwar home constructed race in America, University of Minnesota Press, NA2543.R37H37 2013

Lokko, Lesley Naa Norle, White papers, Black marks: architecture, race, culture, University of Minnesota Press, NA2543.R37W495 2000

Tauke, Beth, Korydon Smith, & Charles L. Davis, Diversity and design : understanding hidden consequences, Routledge, NK1520.D59 2016

West, Cornel, “A note on race and architecture,” in Keeping faith: philosophy and race in America, Routledge, E185.615.W427 1993

West, Cornel, et al., “On architecture?” Append X: culture, theory, praxis, #2, 1994, p. 82-103 (Full text via AppendX.org)

Wilkins, Craig L., The aesthetics of equity: notes on race, space, architecture, and music, University of Minnesota Press, NA2543.R37W55 2007

Bonastia, Christopher, Knocking on the door: the federal government's attempt to desegregate the suburbs, Princeton University Press, 2008 (ebook via Ebrary)

Freund, David M. P., Colored property: state policy and white racial politics in suburban America, University of Chicago Press, 2007 (ebook via Ebrary)

Haynes, Bruce D., Red lines, Black spaces: the politics of race and space in a Black middle-class suburb, Yale University Press, 2001 (ebook via Ebrary)

Hudson, J. Blaine, “Upon this rock—the free African American community of antebellum Louisville, Kentucky,” The Register of the Kentucky Historical Society, #3/4, 2011, p. 295-326 (PDF via Jstor)

Hunter, Anthony & Zandria F. Robinson, Chocolate cities : the Black map of American life, University of California Press, E185.H86 2018

Little, Margaret Ruth, "The Other side of the tracks: the middle-class neighborhoods that Jim Crow built in early-twentieth-century North Carolina," Perspectives In Vernacular Architecture, January 1997, p. 268-280 (PDF via Jstor)

Little, Margaret Ruth, “Getting the American dream for themselves: postwar modern subdivisions for African Americans in Raleigh, North Carolina,” Buildings & Landscapes: Journal of the Vernacular Architecture Forum, #1, 2012, p. 73-86 (PDF via Jstor)

Mendenhall, Ruby, “The Political economy of Black housing: from the housing crisis of the Great Migrations to the subprime mortgage crisis,” The Black Scholar, # 1, Spring 2010, p. 20-37 (PDF via Jstor)

Pattillo, Mary E., Black on the block : the politics of race and class in the city, University of Chicago Press, 2007 (ebook via Ebrary)

United States Travel Bureau, The Negro motorist green-book, About Comics, GV1024.N36 2016

Wiese, Andrew, Places of their own: African American suburbanization in the twentieth century, University of Chicago Press, 2004 (ebook via Ebrary)

Abel, Elizabeth, Signs of the times: the visual politics of Jim Crow, University of California Press, 2010 (ebook via Ebrary)

Appiah, Anthony, et al., In my father's house: Africa in the philosophy of culture, Oxford University Press, DT352.4.A66 1992

Battle-Baptiste, Whitney & Britt Rusert (Editors), W.E.B. Du Bois's data portraits : visualizing Black America : the color line at the turn of the twentieth century, Princeton Architectural Press, E185.86.D846 2018

Blier, Suzanne Preston, The Anatomy of architecture: ontology and metaphor in Batammaliba architectural expression, Cambridge University Press, DT541.45.S65B57 1994

hooks, bell, Art on my mind: visual politics, W. W. Norton, N6537.H585A2 1995

Provenzo Jr., Eugene F., W.E.B. Du Bois's exhibit of American Negroes : African Americans at the beginning of the twentieth century, Bowman & Littlefield Publishers, E185.53.P37P76 2013

Wynter, Sylvia, "Black Aesthetic," Oxford Art Online

Beardsley, John, "Race and space," Landscape Architecture, June 1998, p. 144 (On the underrepresentation of African-Americans in landscape architecture)

Ginsburg, Rebecca, "Freedom and the slave landscape," Landscape Journal, #1, 2007, p. 36-44

Jones, Diane, "The city of the dead: the place of cultural identity and environmental sustainability in the African-American cemetery [Mount Auburn Cemetery, Baltimore]," Landscape Journal, #2, 2011, p. 226-240

Ruff, Scott, "’Signifyin': African-American language to landscape," Thresholds, #35, 2009

Allmendinger, Blake, Imagining the African American West, University of Nebraska Press, 2005 (Ebook available via Proquest Ebook Central, https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/sciarc-ebooks/detail.action?docID=4841597  

Barragan, Bianca, “Mapped: 20 places in LA where black architects left their mark,” la.curbed.com, February 28, 2020, https://la.curbed.com/maps/los-angeles-black-architects-projects-map 

Bryant, Clora (Editor), Central Avenue sounds : jazz in Los Angeles, University of California, ML3508.8 .L7 C46 1998 

Cheng, Wendy, The Changs next door to the Díazes : remapping race in suburban California, University of Minnesota Press, 2013, (Ebook available via Proquest Ebook Central,  
https://ebookce​ntral.proquest.​com/lib/sciarc-​ebooks/detail.a​ction?docID=158​1500 

Christian, Elizabeth, “Field overcrowded, discriminatory?: architects facing many professional challenges,” Los Angeles Times, November 27, 1983, p. J1 

Davis, Mike and Jon Wiener, Set the night on fire : L.A. in the sixties, Verso, F869.L857 2020eb (Ebook available via Proquest Ebook Central, https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/sciarc-ebooks/detail.action?docID=6072339 ) 

De Lara, Juan, Inland shift: race, space, and capitol in inland Southern California, University of California Press, HC107.C22L37 2018 

Flamming, Douglas, Bound for freedom: Black Los Angeles in Jim Crow America, University of California Press, 2004 (Ebook available via ProQuest Ebook Central, https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/sciarc-ebooks/detail.action?docID=227284  

Graaf, Lawrence B. et al., Seeking El Dorado: African Americans in California, University of Washington Press, 2001 (Ebook available via Proquest Ebook Central, https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/sciarc-ebooks/detail.action?docID=3444549 

Home, Gerald, Fire this time : the Watts uprising and the 1960s, Da Capo Press, F869.L89N344 1997 

Jefferson, Alison Rose, “African American leisure space in Santa Monica: the beach sometimes known as the Inkwell, 1900s-1960s,” Southern California Quarterly, #2, 2009, p. 155-189 (PDF via Jstor)

Johnson, Gaye Theresa, Spaces of conflict, sounds of solidarity : music, race, and spatial entitlement in Los Angeles, University of California Press, F869.L89A2533 2013 

Jones, Kellie, Now dig this! art & Black Los Angeles, 1960-1980, Prestel, N6538.N5J666 2011 

Jones, Kellie, South of Pico : African American artists in Los Angeles in the 1960s and 1970s, Duke University Press, N6538.N5J668 2017 

Kun, Josh & Laura Pulido, Black and Brown in Los Angeles : beyond conflict and coalition, University of California Press, 2013 (Ebook available via Proquest Ebook Central, https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/sciarc-ebooks/detail.action?docID=1471738  

L.A. Rebellion (UCLA Film & Television Archive) on YouTube (Films, news footage, interviews), https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLVTStOGUY_UfEpwzXnGxSot7UuqJDXHfz  

Minorities in architecture panel (January 28, 1976), with Arthur Silvers (DMJM) & Jack W. Haywood, https://youtu.be/U4md6R8l1yY  

Morris, Jason E., Nov. 2016, for NOMA & AIA/LA, “A map of featured Los Angeles buildings by African American architects,” https://www.aialosangeles.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Final-Noma-Map-11x17.pdf 

Pynchon, Thomas, “A Journey Into The Mind of Watts,” New York Times, June 12, 1966, https://archive.nytimes.com/www.nytimes.com/books/97/05/18/reviews/pynchon-watts.html?_r=1 

Rosas, Abigail, South Central is home : race the the power of community investment in Los Angeles, Stanford University Press, F869.L86S687 2019 

Sides, Josh, L. A. city limits: African American Los Angeles from the Great Depression to the present, University of California Press, 2004 (ebook via Ebrary)

Torres-Rouff, David Samuel, Before L.A. : race, space, and municipal power in Los Angeles, 1781-1894, Yale University Press. F869.L857 T67 2013 

Viehe, Fred W., “The Social-spatial distribution in the Black Gold suburbs of Los Angeles, 1900-1930,” Southern California Quarterly, Spring 1991, p. 33-54 (PDF via Jstor)

“Watts holds ‘dig-in’ for community arts center,” Los Angeles Times, June 25, 1967, p. F3 (PDF

Watts Writers Workshop, From the ashes : voices of Watts, New American Library, PS508.N3 W33 1967  

 

 

FRANCIS + ANDERSON (Christopher Francis, Gladstone “Andy” Anderson) 

Michaud, Anne, “Architects have designs on public contracts: the partners of Orange-based Francis + Anderson want to merge their different skills for optimum impact. They hope minority incentives will open doors.” Los Angeles Times, January 18, 1993, p. OCD4 (PDF

 

FREELON, PHIL (1953-2019) 

Petrunia, Paul, et al., “Remembering Phil Freelon ; a full transcript from our podcast,” Archinect, July 12, 2019, https://archinect.com/features/article/150145314/remembering-phil-freelon-a-full-transcript-from-our-podcast  

Zacks Stephen, “Beyond black + white: Philip Freelon built his practice from the ground up - and now he’s the go-to architect for African-American cultural commissions,” Metropolis, March 2006. 

 

GARROTT, JAMES H. (1897-1991) 

Lopez, Robert J., “A farewell to Firestone : Sheriff’s station, the first in the country to put Black deputies in patrol cars, is set to close after 35 years,” Los Angeles Times, December 19, 1993, p. H14. (PDF

“Progress – ground will be broken for Westchester City Hall …” Los Angeles Times, March 15, 1959, p. CS6 (James H. Garrott Jr. & Gregory Ain, PDF

 

HAYWOOD, JACK W.  

“Designers predict decoration trends,” Los Angeles Times, October 13, 1963, p. GBA9 (PDF

“First plans for Oakwood Center expansion passed,” Los Angeles Times, March 27, 1975, p. WS5 (PDF

 

HENRY, MIRA 

Current interests (with Mathew Au), https://currentinterestsla.com/Us  

Duel + Duet Ellie Abrons & Mira Henry (September 23, 2016), https://youtu.be/sP4Gw-HcO-4  

 

JENKINS, CAREY K. (?-1987) 

Carey K. Jenkins in the A. Quincy Jones papers, 1942-1979, UCLA Special Collections. Includes 21 job slides. OAC Finding Aid: https://oac.cdlib.org/findaid/ark:/13030/tf0j49n6wn/?query=%22carey+k.+jenkins%22  

“Dedication rites held for seniors’ home,” Los Angeles Times, March 7, 1965, p. N8 (PDF

“New branch – Construction is under way on a $300,000 Bank of America branch at Washington Blvd. and 12th St,” Los Angeles Times, September 14, 1969, p. I17 (currently Truffle Brothers deli, PDF

 

KENNARD, ROBERT A. (1921?-1995) 

De Wolfe, Evelyn, “Black architect, his struggle behind him, now role model / Kennard’s firm celebrates 30th anniversary,” Los Angeles Times, November 15, 1987, p. H1 (PDF

Oliver, Myrna, “R. A. Kennard ; prominent Black architect [Obituary],” Los Angeles Times, March 29, 1995, p. WVA12 (PDF

Whiteson, Leon, “Designs on the future : through the legacy left by her father, Gail Kennard Madyun hopes to build a better L.A. for the next generation,” Los Angeles Times, January 21, 1996, p. E1 (PDF

Robinson, Jerome Anthony, “An odyssey in B-flat: rediscovering the life and times of master architect Robert A. Kennard,” Master of Heritage Conservation thesis, USC, 2018, http://digitallibrary.usc.edu/cdm/ref/collection/p15799coll89/id/113108  

Cubé, Caroline, “Processing the papers of Architect Robert Kennard in the CFPRT,” UCLA Library special collections blog, July 23, 2019, https://www.library.ucla.edu/blog/special/2019/07/23/processing-the-papers-of--architect-robert-kennard-in-the-cfprt  

“Kennard (Robert A.) papers,” UCLA Library special collections, via Online Archive of California, https://oac.cdlib.org/findaid/ark:/13030/c8mc968c/?query=kennard+architecture (Finding aid) 

“Handy helpers,” Los Angeles Times, October 14, 1962, p. A58 (PDF

“New temple – Architect Robert Kennard, left, and Rabbi Herschel Lymon examine model of new Temple Akiba …,” Los Angeles Times, April 21, 1963, p. WS5 (PDF

 

PRIDE, MICHAELE (1956- ) 

Spiller, Jane, “Leimert Park : bolstering a ‘fragile’ place,” Los Angeles Times, July 8, 1995, p. B7 (PDF

Doherty, Jake, “St. Elmo Village plans renovation,” Los Angeles Times, February 28, 1993, p. H8 (PDF

Betsky, Aaron, “Building with heart,” Los Angeles Times, September 26, 1993, p. SM36 (PDF

Michaele Pride-Wells: Practice what you preach (January 23, 2008), https://youtu.be/pGkZ2RaRjA4  

The Next L. A.: John Kaliski, Michaele Pride-Wells, et al. (February 10, 1994), https://youtu.be/Txq29snoYfU  

 

PROBY, VINCENT (1928-1987) 

Champlin, Charles, “Afro-Am : Museum of Black Culture,” Los Angeles Times, July 2, 1983, p. E1 (PDF

 

RAW ARCHITECTURE (Roland A. Wiley, R. Steven Lewis, Steven Lott) 

Keegan, Edward, “The Mentor: R. Steven Lewis / Reversing the low number of minority architects, says NOMA's new president, requires addressing future generations through nationwide community efforts and institutional partnerships.,” Architect magazine, November 11, 2008, https://www.architectmagazine.com/practice/the-mentor-r-steven-lewis_o  

Whiteson, Leon, “Black architects try the RAW approach,” Los Angeles Times, August 3, 1990, p. OCE4 (PDF

 

SILCOTT, JAMES E. 

“The James E. Silcott Endowed Chair,” Howard University, http://www.arch.cea.howard.edu/james-e-silcott-endowed-chair  

Shiver, Jube, “Architect’s return to job testy, brief,” Los Angeles Times, March 16, 1984, p. D1 (PDF

Vollmer, Ted, “Silcott accepts county’s $1-million settlement,” Los Angeles Times, November 1, 1984, p. B29 (PDF

 

SKLAREK, NORMA MERRICK (1926-2012) 

Liddick, Betty, “At ease under hard hat, dryer,” Los Angeles Times, June 23, 1972, p. G1 (PDF

“20 Californians elected fellows of AIA / First woman in L.A. chapter’s history included,” Los Angeles Times, March 30, 1980, p. I13 (PDF

“A guide to the Norma Merrick Sklarek biographical material,” Special Collections, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, https://ead.lib.virginia.edu/vivaxtf/view?docId=vt/viblbv00020.xml  

“Research notes on Norma Merrick Sklarek,” Sara Holmes Boutelle Papers, MS141, Box 14, Folder 18, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Special Collections, finding aid via Online Archive of California: https://oac.cdlib.org/findaid/ark:/13030/kt7g5027xh/dsc/?query=%22Norma%20Merrick%20Sklarek%22%20#c02-1.3.12.3.9  

Photos, correspondence, clippings and publications featuring Sklarek, 11 items total, held by the National Museum of African American History & Culture: https://nmaahc.si.edu/explore/collection/search?edan_q=%2A%3A%2A&edan_fq%5B0%5D=p.edanmdm.indexedstructured.name%3A%22Sklarek%2C%20Norma%20Merrick%22&edan_local=1&op=Search 

 

SLAUGHTER 

Stephen Slaughter: From Phat to Watts (March 26, 2010), https://youtu.be/a-IpF6ztT38  

 

SPENCER, WILLIAM K.  

Cross, Pat, “All-Black building team follows road of determination to success,” June 10, 1973, p. F27 (PDF

 

THE URBAN WORKSHOP (Ed Goff, Eugene Brooks) 

Seidenbaum, Art, “Watts Power – a resource now just going to waste,” Los Angeles Times, July 22, 1968, p. A5 (PDF

“Workshop in Watts,” Architectural Forum, January/February 1969 (on “The Urban Workshop … the only group of black architects and planners in the Greater Watts riot area …” including Ed Goff, Eugene Brooks) 

 

WILLIAMS, PAUL R. (1894-1980) 

“Negro is nominated for planning body,” Los Angeles Times, July 2, 1921, p. II10 (PDF

Braun, Stephen, “Threat to old building meets wave of opposition,” Los Angeles Times, March 4, 1984, p. WS1 (PRW’s Sunset Plaza: “Louis Angelikis, a former professor of architecture at USC who had worked on plans to develop condominiums at the Sunset Plaza site, told a hearing of the Cultural Heritage Board in June, 1980, that Paul Williams’ name did not appear in any architectural history books …” (PDF

"Finding Aid for the Paul Revere Williams drawings, circa 1935-circa 1950," UC Santa Barbara: Architecture and Design Collection, Art, Design and Architecture Museum, via Online Archive of California,  https://oac.cdlib.org/findaid/ark:/13030/c8z60pn2/  

Hudson, Karen E. & Benny Chan, Paul R. Williams : classic Hollywood style, Rizzoli, NA737.W527H847 2012 

Hudson, Karen E. & David Gebhard, Paul R. Williams, architect : a legacy of style, Rizzoli, NA737.W527H84 2000 

Mays, Vernon, “Mr. Williams,” Architect, September 2010, p.74-79 

Paul R. Williams : a collection of house plans, Hennessey & Ingalls, NA737.W527A4 2006 

The Paul Revere Williams Project, https://www.paulrwilliamsproject.org/  

Please note

  • These guides are intended to provide initial orientation, and suggest a variety of different lines of investigation—not take the place of individual research.
  • All the resources cited here--print and digital--are available through the Kappe Library at SCI-Arc.Items not available at SCI-Arc are not included.
  • Surveys covering multiple projects are preferred over monographic studies focusing on specific works or individuals.
  • Resources on Los Angeles and Southern California are stressed.
  • Proprietary digital resources (Avery Index, Oxford Art Online, ArtStor, etc) can be accessed on-campus at SCI-ARC via any SCI-Arc internet provider. Off-campus they can be accessed 24/7 via the Kappe Library proxy server, and a valid SCI-Arc Network username and password.

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