15 Architects On Being Black In Architecture

By Elizabeth Fazzare |

Of the 116,242 licensed architects in the United States and its territories, just two percent are Black. Only 2,325 Black architects are building the cities and suburbs, shaping the skylines and creating the museums, housing, schools, government buildings, places of worship and any other variety of structures we live in or with every day. In a nation with a population of nearly 330,064,000 people, solely 2,325 Black citizens have the power and access to physically design our built environment.

When faced with these figures, it becomes clear that the racist systems that often bar Black Americans from competing on an equal socioeconomic playing field also extend to architecture. White people have always had a head start. Licensure laws were first passed in 1897, but the first Black architect to be licensed, Paul Revere Williams, was not bestowed the title until 1921. While this marked an incredibly important milestone, society must resist the urge to celebrate isolated successes as evidence of racial equity. Instead, it raises the question: why did this take so long?

“15 Architects On Being Black In Architecture.” Accessed May 12, 2022. http://www.culturedmag.com/article/2020/08/06/15-architects-on-being-black-in-architecture.