Photo courtesy Duke University Archives digital collection, Julian Abele (1881-1950), modified
Julian Abele was one of the major American architects, but he never signed his work and it was not publicly acknowledged. Abele's original architectural drawings for Duke University have been described as works of art with exquisite in detail.
Moses McKissack III was the grandson of an African-born slave who became a master builder. Moses III joined his brother Calvin to form one of the earliest African-American architectural firms in the USA. Building on the family legacy, the firm of McKissack and McKissack has designed thousands of facilities.
During a brief yet innovative career, William Sidney Pittman was commissioned to design several important buildings in Washington, DC. Often reaching for the unexpected in his work, Pittman died penniless at the age of 82.
From Beacon Lights of the Race, 1911.
While Wallace Augustus Rayfield was a student at Columbia University, Booker T. Washington
recruited him to head the Architectural and Mechanical Drawing Department at Tuskegee Institute in Macon County, Alabama. After a few years, Rayfield opened his own practice in Birmingham, Alabama, where he designed many homes and churches. Rayfield was the second professionally-educated black architect in the United States.
Educated at MIT, Robert Robinson Taylor was America's first formally trained architect. Like Wallace Rayfield, Taylor spent time teaching at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama and met the prominent Black educator and leader Booker T. Washington. Robert Robinson Taylor designed several buildings at Tuskegee Institute and he helped other African Americans launch careers in architecture.