The Black Architects Archive
Few people know the names of Horace King, Ethel Madison Bailey Furman, Julian Francis Abele, Norma Sklarek, or Georgia Louise Harris Brown—just a few among the many Black architects who made significant contributions to the built environment but whose names have remained absent from history. Additionally, few people are aware of the buildings, bridges, and parks in their neighborhoods that were built by Black architects. Structural racism kept these architects from being publicly acknowledged for their works and, in some cases, from even being paid for them. For many of these architects, the knowledge of their contributions has persisted only in the memories of their descendants.
The Black Architects Archive surfaces these and other under-represented architects across history as a means to diversify the architectural history of our towns and cities while also serving as a public history resource that documents the impact of Black spatial practices on the American built environment. The project also works towards equity in architectural education and in architectural practice by helping to diversify the curriculum, in part by acknowledging and highlighting the role of Black architects in the making of the built environment. Recognizing that many Black architects were marginalized in history because they could not be formally recognized for their contributions due to racial discrimination, the Black Architects Archive relies on crowd-sourced and community-based contributions to grow its repository of Black shapers of the built environment.
The Black Architects Archive is the work of the Data Humanism by Design Research Group and is supported by grants from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts; the NULab for Texts, Maps, and Networks; and the College of Arts, Media, and Design at Northeastern University.