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John S. Chase

Architect John Saunders Chase was born January 23, 1925, in Annapolis, Maryland. When his parents, Viola Hall Chase, a teacher and cook, and John S. Chase, Sr., a school principal and postal worker, separated, Chase was raised primarily by his mother. Every year at the United States Naval Academy graduation, Chase could earn $25 for each tossed hat he retrieved. At Bates High School, his teacher, Mr. Marchand, introduced Chase to architecture; he earned his B.S. degree from Hampton University in 1948, and became the first African American to enroll in and graduate from the University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture in 1952.

Chase's professional career began the same year as his graduation when he was appointed assistant professor of architectural drafting at Texas Southern University, and founded John S. Chase, AIA Architect. Chase's early designs were for churches, schools, homes, and small public buildings.

Chase became the first African American licensed to practice architecture in the state of Texas, and later was the first African American to be admitted to the Texas Society of Architects, and the Houston Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). Chase co-founded the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) along with 12 other black architects at the AIA convention in Detroit in 1971. When President Jimmy Carter selected him in 1980, Chase became the first African American to serve on the United States Commission on Fine Arts. Projects designed by Chase’s firm include: the George R. Brown Convention Center, the Washington Technical Institute, Links, Inc., National Headquarters, Delta Sigma Theta National Headquarters, the Harris County Astrodome Renovation, the Thurgood Marshall School of Law, and the Martin Luther King, Jr. School of Humanities at Texas Southern University. Chase was later awarded a commission to design the United States Embassy in Tunis, Tunisia; a fifty million dollar complex.

Chase was elected to the AIA College of Fellows, was awarded the AIA Whitney M. Young Citation, and was the recipient of the NOMA Design for Excellence Award for four consecutive years. Chase also received the commendation for Meritorious Service by the Houston Independent School District, and the Honor Award for Architectural Excellence in School Design by the Texas Association of School Boards for his design of the Booker T. Washington High School. Chase and his wife, Drucie, raised three children together: John, Anthony and Saundria.

Chase passed away on March 29, 2012 at age 87.

Accession Number

A2004.223

Sex

Male

Interview Date

11/1/2004

Last Name

Chase

Maker Category
Middle Name

Saunders

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Bates High School

Wiley H. Bates High School

Hampton University

First Name

John

Birth City, State, Country

Annapolis

HM ID

CHA06

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Maryland

Favorite Vacation Destination

Pebble Beach, California

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Birth Date

1/23/1925

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Houston

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Corn

Death Date

3/29/2012

Short Description

Architect and federal government appointee John S. Chase (1925 - 2012 ) was the first African American licensed to practice architecture in the state of Texas, and later was the first African American to be admitted to the Texas Society of Architects and the Houston Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. Chase co-founded the National Organization of Minority Architects, in addition to becoming the first African American to serve on the United States Commission on Fine Arts during the Carter Administration.

Employment

Texas Southern University

John S. Chase, AIA Architect

National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA)

United States Commission on Fine Arts

Favorite Color

None

Timing Pairs
0,0:3233,73:3525,78:4109,87:5496,118:6080,128:7321,204:10168,289:20614,475:21316,484:26308,666:28414,718:32392,822:38402,883:39010,891:39390,897:55900,1099:74306,1279:74716,1301:84238,1397:84582,1402:85270,1412:87162,1475:91028,1508:91496,1519:100354,1720:100921,1728:103999,1898:115390,2027:118314,2173:121444,2184:121900,2189:137702,2311:144360,2364:156820,2490:157310,2499:157730,2506:164430,2601:164810,2606:167090,2885:192880,3045:248988,3368:250940,3373:251335,3379:251809,3390:252915,3408:253389,3419:253863,3426:263310,3508:265150,3530$0,0:912,11:1296,16:4368,50:12574,105:13858,120:16133,129:23790,154:24470,163:25660,213:26680,225:40970,313:41290,318:44680,382:51963,443:52449,451:53259,467:74064,636:78894,711:85153,730:94788,839:98860,856:100204,861:106543,924:109082,947:109863,960:110147,965:121378,1071:123586,1100:125602,1129:130668,1168:135966,1226:136946,1237:141850,1264:142355,1270:152338,1327:154460,1338:154810,1344:163790,1471:164290,1476:177474,1602:178214,1615:187540,1682:189925,1699:191665,1724:193366,1733:195412,1772:196900,1792:197458,1800:203674,1854:217094,1996:219327,2045:219635,2050:228648,2210:229485,2241:246490,2336:246862,2348:252800,2406:256700,2450
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating for John S. Chase's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - John S. Chase lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - John S. Chase talks about his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - John S. Chase describes his mother's personality

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - John S. Chase talks about his parents' separation

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - John S. Chase describes his father's personality and career

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - John S. Chase talks about his sister's family

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - John S. Chase describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - John S. Chase recalls the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Annapolis, Maryland

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - John S. Chase remembers his influential elementary school teachers

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - John S. Chase remembers discovering his aspiration to be an architect

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - John S. Chase recalls his architectural mentors

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - John S. Chase remembers making his grandmother's tombstone

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - John S. Chase recalls collaborating with John T. Biggers at Hampton Institute in Hampton, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - John S. Chase describes himself as a young man

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - John S. Chase talks about being jailed in Heflin, Alabama, pt.1

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - John S. Chase talks about being jailed in Heflin, Alabama, pt.2

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - John S. Chase recalls his time at Hampton Institute in Hampton, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - John S. Chase recalls serving in World War II

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - John S. Chase recalls the segregation in the United States Army during World War II

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - John S. Chase recalls the mistreatment of Japanese prisoners in World War II

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - John S. Chase remembers graduating from Hampton University in Hampton, Virginia and his initial architectural career

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - John S. Chase talks about recruiting new clients by visiting churches

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - John S. Chase recalls his acceptance to the University of Texas at Austin in Austin, Texas in the wake of Sweatt v. Painter, 1950

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - John S. Chase reflects on his experience at the newly integrated University of Texas at Austin in Austin, Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - John S. Chase reflects on being the first African American graduate of University of Texas at Austin in Austin, Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - John S. Chase talks about his alumni involvement with the University of Texas at Austin in Austin, Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - John S. Chase remembers the trials and advantages of graduate school at the University of Texas at Austin in Austin, Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - John S. Chase tells about his initial professional success in Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - John S. Chase describes his political involvement while working at Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - John S. Chase remembers his time in the United Political Organization of Texas

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - John S. Chase describes spending time with President Lyndon Baines Johnson

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - John S. Chase remembers working on the Vietnam Veterans War Memorial

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - John S. Chase gives his opinion of President Lyndon Baines Johnson

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - John S. Chase names his architectural works in Texas

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - John S. Chase talks about his architectural aesthetic

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - John S. Chase describes his current and past projects

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - John S. Chase describes his hopes for the African American community

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - John S. Chase reflects upon his life

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - John S. Chase describes his children

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - John S. Chase talks about his wife, Drucie Chase

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - John S. Chase talks about his mother and sister

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - John S. Chase reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - John S. Chase describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - John S. Chase narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

5$3

DATitle
John Chase reflects on his experience at the newly integrated University of Texas at Austin in Austin, Texas
John Chase remembers working on the Vietnam Veterans War Memorial
Transcript
Let me just set the stage for something else here.$$Um-hm.$$You, give us your personal reflection on this but, in the school of architecture [at University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas] now, you had someone who wanted you there, the dean [Hugh L. McMath] wanted you there, and he was really, and he couldn't let you in because of the law of the State of Tex--Texas--$$That's right.$$--in the beginning. But now he could, but in terms of Herman [Marion] Sweatt, and the four law school, they were before the student's right, that applied to the University of Texas law school [University of Texas at Austin School of Law, Austin, Texas], they were on that suit with him?$$Um-hm.$$They had a pretty rough, the law school didn't really want 'em there, am I right?$$See, had, had the [U.S.] Supreme [Court], I've always said this, I don't know how much truth is in it, but had the Supreme Court decision been Chase [HistoryMaker John Chase] versus Painter, I would have never made it. Sweatt would have probably got in and become a very fine lawyer by now, he was, Sweatt was quite a person now, great speaker, very intelligent, but I really, I couldn't tell you, point to nothing specific there but, I, I, I just believe that had that case been built on me, that I would not have gone in or had I gone in, I would have been flunked out, Sweatt was flunked out, you see, and heck I knew Sweatt well enough to know that Sweatt wasn't supposed to been flunked out of no law school.$$Yeah. The person I was asking you about when I came in off camera we were talking about it, Dr. Jacob Carruthers [HistoryMaker Jacob H. Carruthers, Jr.], he was one of the four students with Sweatt and he ended up becoming a political science professor and getting a Ph.D from the University of Colorado [Boulder, Boulder, Colorado] but he couldn't deal with it either, he couldn't deal with their law school.$$I could understand.$$Once they started, he had to get outta there.$$Yeah, I can, I can--$$He said, he said, he was--$$--understand that.$$--he was so angry--$$Oh yeah.$$--he couldn't really continue.$$Oh yeah. I tell you when, when I worked the walked in that class, the very first day, Life magazine was there among others, Austin [Texas] statesmen and all the rest of 'em and let me tell you, you could pick the friends out right away, you could pick the foes out. Nobody had to tell you, you could tell it, you could tell it. Now, the, I mean the ones that you thought and felt were okay, would do things like, you'd be sitting at your desk drawing and studying and doing on, they'd come in, saw you been working long enough let's go to the union and get a soda or a sandwich or something, come on go with us, you know? See, now that made you feel good, or, or the time that Hollands [ph.] and his wife said, and that, at this time now I'm married see? Said look, why don't you and your wife [Drucie Chase] and, and my wife and I go to the game this weekend, go to the game on campus and, oh we did. And, and the joke there, in fact Holland said, yeah, we in there walking into the stadium and he says, "Boy I'll tell you the eyes of Texas are on you now." (Laughter) yeah.$$So, it wasn't ea--it wasn't easy though, I mean, to try to--I would imagine all the media made--made it difficult I would guess.$$It, it had its affect, it had its affect, I thought at one time these people who were following me around the campus were negative and I had some checking done on them and found out they were [U.S.] Secret Service people.$They were, they were good times, we, we've gotten presidential appointments again in the first category, being first we were the first member of the, the planning commission [U.S. Commission on Fine Arts] for the District of Columbia [Washington, D.C.], this is the commission that the, besides the worthiness of such projects as the Vietnam [Veterans] Memorial [Washington, D.C.], that came across their desk when you go look at that and see that in addition to the memorial, you've got a three person statute down there. Have you ever seen the mem--you know those three soldiers in the, that was part of some of the things we did on that commission. We, we said that, see at that time there was a big to do about serving, you know, in, in the service where even the monument itself that Maya Lin designed and she presented that to our commission, even that memorial was a memorial to the dead so they said, it had fifty some thousand names of soldiers who were killed. There's but one living name on that board, so this got a group of veterans very mad because they didn't feel that, they said, good gosh is that some model monument to the dead? And, and so our commission decided well maybe something else is needed to counteract that point and on came the three soldier monument with, in combat clothes with their arms with them, right where the, the "V" is like that on the monument, the statue is right there, you see? Some people, we had said in the meeting, some people are gonna' think well goodness we don't have one monument there, we've got two, you know, and in essence that could or could not be true, I don't know but, at least it's there and that, plus doing a directory at the beginning of the "V," up here, so that if, if you're coming down to that monument to see the name of your husband, or brother, or uncle or father, see the names aren't on there in alphabetical order, they're on there in chronological order of death in Vietnam so, you got fifty something thousand names scattered all over this wall so how do you know what panel to go to? So, we decided that you should have this directory so a person could look up the name, in which would be alphabetized and you'd find that name and across from that name would be the panel and line that the name would, they would find that name. And, so those are some of the things I think politically we, we, we got out of it, many more, but they were some of the highlights--

Leon Bridges

Leon Bridges was born on August 18, 1932 in the East Los Angeles, California barrio of Boyle Heights. His mother was a postal worker and his father worked various jobs. There, he attended Foshay Elementary School in Los Angeles. As a youngster he enjoyed drawing floor plans and building designs and knew early on that he wanted to pursue a career in architecture. While a student at Adams Junior High School he met his mentor, famed African American architect, Paul Williams. Bridges earned his high school diploma from Dorsey High School in 1950 where he was a member of the track team.

After graduation he attended East Los Angeles Junior College, Los Angeles City College and the University of California, Los Angeles. While a student at UCLA, Bridges was drafted into the military in 1952, and was stationed in Japan. While a soldier, he continued to study architecture. He also began to pursue an acting career and appeared as an extra in several movies and toured with the Griffith Park Greek Theatre Light Opera Company from 1950 through 1952. He earned his bachelor’s of architecture from the University of Washington in Seattle in 1960.

While still a student at the University of Washington, Bridges received his first job in 1956 as a draftsman. During the summer of 1957, he worked as an intern for California architect Alan Morris and supervised the construction of a house. From 1959 through 1961, he worked for a small architecture firm designing houses. His first design was for a home that was just 1350 square feet. From 1961 through 1963, Bridges worked for the architecture firm Gotteland and Kocarski as a draftsman and designed Catholic churches and buildings in Seattle. In 1962, Bridges became a registered architect.

Bridges formed his own architecture firm, Leon Bridges AIA in 1963, and his first project was designing a building for the Seattle YMCA. In 1966, he formed a partnership with colleague Edward Burke and they worked together until 1972 when Bridges relocated his firm to Baltimore, Maryland. He was the first registered African American architect in Maryland. In 1971, he served as National Director of the Amrerican Institute of Architects (AIA). Bridges co-founded the AIA/Ford Minority Scholarship fund, which has provided millions of dollars in college scholarships for needy students, in 1976, and in 1984 he was nominated as a Fellow of the College of Fellows, AIA. That same year he also earned his MBA from Loyola College of Maryland.

Bridges is he recipient of more than twenty national, regional and local awards for design excellence including the restoration of Baltimore’s Penn Station and Baltimore City College High School. Bridges is also a member of the counsel of the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA), for which he has served in every national office, including president.

Currently, Bridges is a partner in The Obsidian Group, an architectural, design and planning firm with offices in Baltimore, New York and North Carolina. He is also very active as a mentor in the NAACP’s ACT-SO national mentoring program.

Bridges was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 29, 2004.

Accession Number

A2004.091

Sex

Male

Interview Date

6/29/2004 |and| 8/16/2004

Last Name

Bridges

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Susan Miller Dorsey High School

James A. Foshay Learning Center

Adams Junior High School

Adams Middle School

Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Depends on Schedule

First Name

Leon

Birth City, State, Country

East Los Angeles

HM ID

BRI02

Speakers Bureau Preferred Audience

Teens

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

No

Favorite Season

Spring

Speaker Bureau Notes

Preferred Audience: Teens

Sponsor

Turner Construction Company

State

California

Favorite Vacation Destination

Hawaii

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

8/18/1932

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Spaghetti

Short Description

Architect Leon Bridges (1932 - ) formed his own firm, Leon Bridges AIA, in 1963, and became the first registered African American architect in Maryland. Bridges later became a partner in The Obsidian Group, and co-founded the AIA/Ford Minority Scholarship fund, which has provided millions of dollars in college scholarships for needy students.

Employment

Griffith Park Green Theatre Light Opera Company

Alan Morris

Gotteland & Kocarski

Leon Bridges AIA

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Green

Timing Pairs
0,0:8718,118:9030,123:14072,233:17630,260:18834,284:19522,293:20210,303:22446,340:25259,365:25644,371:26722,390:29879,437:33421,495:33883,502:35038,522:40043,596:40659,606:41660,626:43739,654:54322,737:54658,742:55078,749:62218,893:63142,906:67598,918:68102,928:68462,933:68750,938:69902,959:70262,965:71880,972:72419,980:73805,1005:75653,1048:76269,1060:78656,1110:79426,1123:89906,1286:90234,1291:123306,1689:129730,1751$0,0:7895,104:9170,126:9765,131:14865,212:27975,359:28584,367:29019,374:29976,386:30498,394:33195,439:37540,447:38450,463:38730,468:44190,566:44890,578:45170,583:52410,678:56516,718:57204,729:58236,749:67524,891:83598,1105:83906,1111:84368,1119:92010,1211:92490,1219:93290,1233:93610,1239:93930,1244:102534,1365:103218,1376:112260,1464:132651,1844:164996,2087:167570,2129:170066,2175:175838,2299:181088,2333:202042,2538:211178,2636:226590,2765:226870,2770:229250,2817:229670,2824:247700,3055:282380,3431
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Leon Bridges' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Leon Bridges lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Leon Bridges talks about his mother, Agnes Zenobia Bridges

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Leon Bridges talks about his father, James Alonzo Bridges

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Leon Bridges describes the impact of his parents' divorce and his father's epilepsy

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Leon Bridges describes his family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Leon Bridges describes his earliest memories

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Leon Bridges describes his Aunt Ivy

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Leon Bridges describes growing up in a household of women

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Leon Bridges recalls his childhood illness

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Leon Bridges describes growing up on Cheesbrough Lane in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Leon Bridges describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Leon Bridges shares his memories of elementary school

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Leon Bridges talks about attending church as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Leon Bridges talks about attending John Adams Junior High School

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Leon Bridges describes attending Dorsey Senior High School in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Leon Bridges talks about his career aspirations as a teenager

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Leon Bridges talks about attending junior college and then UCLA

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Leon Bridges talks about serving in the Korean War

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Leon Bridges talks about being stationed in Japan while serving in the Korean War

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Leon Bridges talks about attending radio shows while at Dorsey Senior High School in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Leon Bridges talks about pursuing an acting career and his exposure to the gay community

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Leon Bridges talks about attending the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Leon Bridges remembers his first job as a draftsman in 1956 and designing homes

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Leon Bridges talks about working for Gotteland and Kocarski from 1961 to 1963 and starting his own architecture firm

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Leon Bridges talks about founding Bridges Burke Architects and Planners in 1966

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Leon Bridges talks about his decision to move to Baltimore, Maryland to establish a branch of Bridges Burke Architects and Planners

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Leon Bridges talks about the reaction to being a black architect in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Leon Bridges describes being an architect for the Penn Station rehabilitation project

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Leon Bridges talks about being the first black architect in the American Institute of Architects College of Fellows

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Leon Bridges talks about his pride in seeing his designs built

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Leon Bridges talks about co-founding the AIA/Ford Minority Scholarship Fund in 1976

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Leon Bridges talks about the under-representation of African Americans in architecture

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Leon Bridges talks about the Obsidian Group, a partnership of architects

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Leon Bridges talks about his wife, Eloise Bridges

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Leon Bridges talks about his involvement in the NAACP ACT-SO program

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Leon Bridges reflects upon his career

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Leon Bridges talks about the importance of black history

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Leon Bridges describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Leon Bridges reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Leon Bridges narrates his photographs

DASession

2$2

DATape

3$4

DAStory

1$3

DATitle
Leon Bridges talks about attending radio shows while at Dorsey Senior High School in Los Angeles, California
Leon Bridges talks about his pride in seeing his designs built
Transcript
Tell us about the radio shows you would attend in high school.$$Yeah, they were, they were great. We, we used to get free tickets to the radio shows and in high school [Dorsey Senior High School in Los Angeles, California]. And so this made for great dates, because we could, like, spend 10 cents per person to catch a streetcar to go to Hollywood. We'd go to a radio show. We had free tickets, you know, and we'd Frank Sinatra, saw Jack Benny; we saw [Louis] Armstrong, you know, which was really something to see, a black man up there on, on, you know. And you know, we just saw all these shows for free, then we, we'd leave, get a malted milk or something, and, and go back home on the streetcar. It was a great date, you know, less than a dollar and, and (laughter), yeah, 'cause the malts only cost 25 cents. And so I was, it was a great--we had a, we had a good time. We saw the beginning of television, which was also very interesting, but the radio shows, because they had all these sound people in the background, making all these sounds with paper and, and all kinds of other stuff. And the audience was there, and they, then we would be hyped up beforehand, half an hour or so hyper. It just--$$Did you have a favorite show? What, what was your favorite?$$I think Jack Benny with, with Armstrong had to be my, my favorite, yeah. That was so funny. I mean that was really so funny. But we saw Durante. We saw, you know, the duo. There is a, a man and, and--I can't remember the name now. But we saw Milton Berle. We saw, you know, just--but I--Jack Benny had to be, had to be our, our favorite. Frank Sinatra would've, would of course have been the second one because it was so much hoopla over the, the man and his voice.$And so, let me--you know, you have been the recipient of numerous regional and national awards for your design. When you see your designs, what is that like? What kind of feeling does that generate?$$Well, the first thing is, of course, getting the, the contract, the award, the agreement to do the work. But then, you, you get into the design, and you're working with a client, and that's, that's usually a rather thrilling experience because everybody is in sync with trying to, to develop something that is absolutely the very best. And you're, you have this passion for each other and for the project itself. And if (unclear)--viewers, then the project gets started in construction, and that's rather tenuous right then because there's the cost of it, and oftentimes, the cost is higher than the owner can afford. And then there's the contractor and making sure you have the right contractor who, who won't skin the contract to death, you know, but will do a good job. But then it gets in the ground and gets started (unclear). And when you see the framework starting, steel or whatever, it's just, it's an exciting thing. And when all of the steel is done, what they call topping off, when all of that is done, you see this, this framework. And, and as an architect, I can visualize what's gonna go on it, and it's just a thrilling moment. When the project is finished, and everybody has signed off on it, and the owner gets into it, then you have people who are going in and out of the building. And I'm telling you it's, it's like watching the birth of a baby from conception going all the way up. You know, the, the, the, the growth period is, is going, and then the, the baby comes out, you know, but doesn't stop there, because the baby grows, you know. And, and you see things happen, you know, and these little things that just excite you because--when I go by any building right now that, that I've, I've designed, I'm, I, I--it's a thrill.$$About how many building would you say you've designed?$$Oh, whoa.$$If you had to guess.$$Oh, I don't know, maybe two, three hundred or so, you know. It's not, really it is not that many, you know. I mean three hundred may sound like a lot of buildings. It is, but it's not, when you consider there are some architectural firms that are much bigger than we are, they design 20 or so buildings a, a year, 25 or so buildings a year, you know.$$What's your favorite design?$$Of a building? Are you asking which is my favorite--$$Right, that you, that-$$--design?$$Yes, that you've designed?$$I don't have any one. I would say the Shoreline swimming pool in Seattle, Washington, the Smith house that I described to you before, and my house. I, I would say I have a, for our family, it's, it's a very nice house and very livable.$$And when did you design your house?$$I designed my house in 1970. It was finished in 1974.$$And let's talk a little bit about, in 1976 you co-founded the--so you were talking about some of your favorite designs, and I think you ended with the Shoreline, Shoreline pool.$$Shoreline swimming pool, which is, is one of my favorites, I like roofs, and it has a very fantastic roof on it; the Smith house in Seattle; and, and, and my own house I think. You know, there are other buildings that are, that fall in, in that, you know, certainly the Pennsylvania Station and, and the Green Street Station up in, in Boston [Massachusetts].

Robert P. Madison

Architect and entrepreneur Robert P. Madison was born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1923. He graduated from Cleveland’s East Technical High School with honors in mathematics and science in 1940. He attended the School of Architecture at Howard University, but left to serve in World War II as a second lieutenant. He was wounded in action in the Italian Campaign, receiving the Purple Heart and three combat ribbons. He received a B.A. in architecture from Case Western Reserve University, an M.A. in architecture degree from Harvard University, and completed additional studies as a Fulbright Scholar at L’Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris, France in urban design and prestressed concrete.

Madison served as an assistant professor of architecture at Howard University until he opened his office, Robert P. Madison International, in Cleveland in 1954, the first such office in Ohio opened by an African American architect and only the ninth in the country. Major building projects for the firm have included the United States Embassy in Dakar, Senegal, the Nuclear Facility at Tuskegee Institute (Alabama), and the Cleveland Browns Stadium.

His professional affiliations include the American Institute of Architects, Cleveland Chapter, the Architects Society of Ohio and the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects. He is the recipient of numerous honors, including an honorary Doctor of Humanities from Howard University (1987), the Cleveland Arts Prize (2000), the American Institute of Architects Ohio Gold Medal Firm Award (1994) and induction into the Northeast Ohio Business Hall of Fame.

Madison is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha, Sigma Pi Phi and Epsilon Delta Rho Fraternities.

Accession Number

A2004.026

Sex

Male

Interview Date

3/17/2004

Last Name

Madison

Maker Category
Middle Name

P.

Occupation
Schools

East Technical High School

Harvard University

Case Western Reserve University

Howard University

First Name

Robert

Birth City, State, Country

Cleveland

HM ID

MAD02

Favorite Season

April to November

State

Ohio

Favorite Vacation Destination

Florida

Favorite Quote

Far Better It Is To Dare Mighty Things,To Win Glorious Triumphs Even Though Checkered By Failure, Than To Rank With Those Timid Spirits Who Neither Enjoy Nor Suffer Much Because They Live In The Gray Twilight That Knows Neither Victory Nor Defeat. - Theodore Roosevelt

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Ohio

Birth Date

7/28/1923

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Cleveland

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Bacon, Eggs (Breakfast); Peanut Butter, Jelly S,wiches (Lunch); Fish, Chicken (Dinner)

Short Description

Architect Robert P. Madison (1923 - ) was the founder of Robert P. Madison International, in Cleveland in 1954, the first African American architecture firm in Ohio, and only the ninth in the country at that time.

Employment

Howard University

Robert P. Madison International

United States Army

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:1494,50:2324,65:5810,145:6474,154:20310,643:43762,786:51510,847:83148,1341:103626,1526:104378,1535:133336,1993:135456,2307:163460,2604:203003,3094:204422,3106:213899,3288:240910,3677$0,0:1442,57:18437,432:27033,536:28580,701:33697,1067:41194,1213:74248,1478:107458,1758:111886,1943:130678,2240:142310,2325:174170,3153:227050,3612:271510,4070
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Robert P. Madison's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Robert P. Madison lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Robert P. Madison describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Robert P. Madison describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Robert P. Madison explains how his family came to settle in Cleveland, Ohio

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Robert P. Madison talks about his maternal and paternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Robert P. Madison describes his father's career

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Robert P. Madison talks about the Great Migration

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Robert P. Madison recalls his experiences at East Technical High School in Cleveland, Ohio

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Robert P. Madison describes the childhood aspirations of himself and his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Robert P. Madison talks about his decision to attend Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Robert P. Madison talks about living in Washington, D.C. during the 1940s

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Robert P. Madison describes his experiences at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Robert P. Madison talks about entering the U.S. Army as a commissioned officer during World War II

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Robert P. Madison talks about serving as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army during the Rome-Arno Campaign in World War II

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Robert P. Madison describes segregation in the U.S. Army during World War II and receiving the Purple Heart

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Robert P. Madison shares his thoughts about the use of the atomic bomb against Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Robert P. Madison talks about the push to integrate the U.S. armed forces at the end of World War II

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Robert P. Madison describes courting Coretta Scott King and his wife, HistoryMaker Leatrice Branch Madison

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Robert P. Madison talks about entering Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio to study architecture

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Robert P. Madison describes his experiences at Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Robert P. Madison talks about serving on the board of trustees at Case Western Reserve University

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Robert P. Madison explains how he came to marry HistoryMaker Leatrice Branch Madison

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Robert P. Madison talks about the career of his wife, HistoryMaker Leatrice Branch Madison

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Robert P. Madison recalls his experiences at L'Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris, France

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Robert P. Madison describes his tenure as a professor at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Robert P. Madison talks about starting his own architectural firm, Robert P. Madison, Architect

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Robert P. Madison describes the growth of his family firm, which began as Robert P. Madison, Architect

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Robert P. Madison recalls designing Captain Arthur Roth Elementary School in Cleveland, Ohio and its subsequent controversy

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Robert P. Madison remembers the death of Rev. Bruce Klunder in 1964

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Robert P. Madison describes the education and careers of his two daughters

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Robert P. Madison talks about his involvement with the fraternities Alpha Phi Alpha and Sigma Pi Phi

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Robert P. Madison talks about his membership at St. John A.M.E. Church in Cleveland, Ohio

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Robert P. Madison describes his involvement with the NAACP during the 1960s and 1970s

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Robert P. Madison talks about the election of Carl Burton Stokes as mayor of Cleveland, Ohio

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Robert P. Madison describes the power wielded by African American mayors in the 1960s and 1970s

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Robert P. Madison talks about the Black Power Movement

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Robert P. Madison reflects upon the impact of integration on black-owned businesses in recent decades

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Robert P. Madison talks about public housing projects in Cleveland, Ohio and Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Robert P. Madison describes the importance of the arts and his patronage of art institutions

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Robert P. Madison recalls how he came to love the opera

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Robert P. Madison talks about his future plans for Robert P. Madison International

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Robert P. Madison narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$4

DAStory

8$1

DATitle
Robert P. Madison describes courting Coretta Scott King and his wife, HistoryMaker Leatrice Branch Madison
Robert P. Madison describes the growth of his family firm, which began as Robert P. Madison, Architect
Transcript
I don't want to get into the Cold War period yet, because I also understand that you met your wife [HistoryMaker Leatrice Branch Madison] in the nation's capital [Washington, D.C.] before going to Europe?$$Um-hm.$$Okay, to serve in the [U.S.] Army, so can you tell me about Mrs. Madison and how you came to meet her?$$Okay, (laughter) sure, I was in Washington, I was at Howard [University, Washington, D.C.], and I told you I went to an all-boys school [East Technical High School, Cleveland, Ohio], and I was an absolutely devout churchgoer at St. John A.M.E. Church [Cleveland, Ohio], and I had no sisters (laughter) which meant (laughter) that I was totally ignorant about ladies, girls or women at all, and I remember going on the first date that I was, which is a blind date, and that was a disaster (laughter). So I was around there being very disgusted and I said to one of my friends, "You know, I'm not for girls, I don't--I can't get along with these women." He said, "I got somebody I want you to meet," and he mentioned Leatrice Lucille Branch, who lived in Washington, D.C. and I called her up on the telephone, and I went to see her and I fell in love with her, but she didn't love me (laughter) at all. It was nice and crazy, I was, I told you I was commandant of the cadet corps at Howard [University, Washington, D.C.]. That was that interim period between Camp Croft [Spartanburg, South Carolina] and going to Fort Benning, Georgia. I was so much in love with her I decided to have a parade for her on a Thursday afternoon, and I called out all my troops, and marched through the quadrangle there, and she was standing behind me when I received all present and accounted for and I received the salute and there was--she wasn't impressed at all (laughter). I said I got the whole cadet corps out there. At any rate, I went away to [World] War [II, WWII] and I stayed in touch with her, and I came back, and when I came back she was, had somebody else that she had found that she liked very much, and shortly thereafter I got back I met a young lady whose name was Coretta Scott, from Antioch College [Yellow Springs, Ohio] and we were very close for about a couple of years, and then I decided, no, we decided I was trying to be an architect, and she was going to be an opera singer, that wasn't going to work. So we decided not to get married, and it happens I married Leatrice, and then when I was at Harvard [University, Cambridge, Massachusetts], we were walking across the yard there one day and here's this voice, "Hi, [HistoryMaker] Bob [Robert P. Madison]." I looked up, it's Coretta, and at that time she'd just met [Reverend Dr.] Martin [Luther King, Jr.], so she came over our house and we had quite a little chat and I met, she met Leatrice and I said I'm gonna (unclear) and so Leatrice was why I--and so I married, I met Leatrice and I've been married to her for fifty-four years now.$$Okay.$$That's right, isn't it, yeah (laughter).$$So this is 19--$$Forty-nine [1949].$$Forty-nine [1949], okay, all right, so then, oh, this is gonna be your fifty-fifth anniversary this year?$$Um-hm.$$Okay, and the date of your wedding?$$April the 16, 1949.$$And I just wanna state for the record too, this is Coretta Scott and Martin as in King.$$That's right.$$Martin Luther King, Jr.$$Exactly.$$Okay.$$That's right (laughter), that's right, oh yeah. Everybody teases me about that now. I said, "Well she wanted to be famous, and so she is," but no, I haven't seen her. I saw her once after Martin died and we spent a little while talking. I met him when he came to Cleveland [Ohio] you know, he was a remarkable person. Yes, that's, that's her.$[HistoryMaker] Mr. [Robert P.] Madison, you were talking about the launching of your firm [Robert P. Madison, Architect; Robert P. Madison, International, Inc., Cleveland, Ohio] in 1954, and then the early changes in the name as we moved through the '60s [1960].$$Yeah, yeah during the '50s [1954], '54 [1954] after we opened--after we, you know our practice was pretty much our friends, and we had a doctor who wanted me to do his office over and his wife wanted me to do the back porch and do the recreational room and the basement. That was work. And then Nick Hood [Reverend Nicholas Hood, Sr.] out of Detroit [Michigan] had a church [Plymouth United Church of Christ, Detroit Michigan], and we started doing a church as well as what we call 221(d)(3) housing, federal government housing, and we did a number of government housing projects throughout Detroit and Columbus [Ohio] and Washington, D.C. and Bernard [Madison]--it was Julian [Madison], Julian joined in '56 [1956], and it was Madison and Madison, and then Bernard came on in 1960 after he graduated from his school [Howard University, Washington, D.C.], and so it's Madison, Madison and Madison [Architects and Engineers], and we practiced like that for ten years, and which as I said before he was getting a little bit, and he was right. People would come into the office and say, "I want to speak to the big boss," you know. He was never given the kind of recognition that a partner should get, so he just decided to go out on his own. He went to Washington, Baltimore, Maryland, and we sort of gave him a stipend and he started his own practice, and he practiced until about two years ago. Then it was Madison, then we went back to Madison, Madison International in 1970, right, and that was Julian and I, and we practiced there until 1983, in which Julian's daughter, Sharon [Madison], who was in Detroit, had joined him; and Julian and I had problems all along, the thirty years of practice. They were ideological problems. He was--I'm an architect, he's an engineer and we didn't recognize this early on, but architects are dreamers, wild-eyed, "Look, the beauty of the thing is the essence of it," but Julian was far more practical, he was an engineer and for thirty years the struggle between me and the creative effort and Julian the good old practice, "let's get bigger, bigger, bigger, bigger." Julian was a tremendous person in marketing, he was outgoing, he was a lot like my father [Robert J. Madison] with a kind of bon vivant attitude about life, but in 1983 we'd gotten to a point where he wanted to keep getting bigger and bigger and bigger, and I said, "Gee whiz I'm tired of getting bigger and bigger," because we had, we had 150 people working for us at one time. We had offices in Detroit, Chicago [Illinois], Philadelphia [Pennsylvania], Atlanta [Georgia] and New Jersey, Newark [New Jersey], and I said, "You know Julian, I go to Chicago, and I meet people who are on my payroll I don't even know, (laughter) and what can they do," and I'd go to Detroit, same way, and I said, "so we said look, we've proven we can do so let's just say okay, let's prove that we can still go our separate ways." So, he, we broke up. He took over the offices in Detroit, Chicago and Milwaukee [Wisconsin], and I took over the offices in Cleveland and Atlanta. Soon the office in Atlanta closed, and I retrenched pretty much, because most of the work we had was in Detroit, Chicago and Milwaukee, and he, his office thrived and he did very well, and he was killed, as you may have heard, in 1989 which I was just stunned by, but that was why the Robert P. Madison, Madison, Madison; Madison, Madison, Madison; Madison, Madison; and now back to Robert P. Madison, go the full circle.$$Okay, in fifty years. So when was it officially Robert P. Madison, International? Was that a rather recent?$$Nineteen eighty-five [1985].$$Oh, '85 [1985].$$Eighty-five [1985] yeah, '85 [1985], yeah 'cause we left, we started the separation in '83 [1983] and we finally signed the papers in '85 [1985].

Charles McAfee

Considered the most important African American architect in the United States, Charles McAfee of Wichita, Kansas, has used architecture to create opportunities for African Americans and make social commentary about racial inequality. Born in Los Angeles to Arthur and Willie Anna McAfee on Christmas Day, 1932, McAfee received his B.S. from the University of Nebraska. Beginning his career in the early 1960s, McAfee has developed and sustained Charles F. McAfee Architects and Planners, with offices in Wichita, Atlanta, Dallas and Oklahoma City.

The diversity and breadth of McAfee's career distinguishes him in his field. Throughout his career, he has been affiliated with countless architectural and urban planning projects, many receiving national recognition. McAfee's projects range from institutional facilities (renovation of Oklahoma City School District 89) to transportation structures (Atlanta's North Line Midtown Station), religious structures (Wichita's Calvary Baptist Church) to recreational facilities (McAdams Park), in addition to housing and commercial facilities. The significance of a regional structure, like Kansas's first national black historical society, is as striking as McAfee's national projects. His firm's projects have included the design and construction of FAA/NADIN computer facilities as well as design consultation and construction management of facilities for the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.

In recognition of his distinguished career, McAfee has been the recipient of countless awards and distinctions, including the American Institute of Architects Kansas Chapter Excellence in Architecture Award and the Federal Housing Administration's First Honor Award. He serves on numerous professional and civic boards of directors, including the Catholic Social Services and the National Business League. Mr. McAfee has also served as the president of the National Organization of Minority Architects and Midwestern president of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.

Mr. McAfee maintains his commitment by providing mentorship to minority architects and planners, including his daughters Cheryl McAfee-Mitchell and Charyl McAfee-Duncan who run the family offices in Atlanta, Dallas and Oklahoma City. Mr. McAfee is married to Mrs. Gloria Winston McAfee, a dedicated educator and community leader.

Charles McAfee was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 27, 2002.

Accession Number

A2002.173

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/27/2002

Last Name

McAfee

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

East High School

University of Nebraska-Omaha

Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Any

First Name

Charles

Birth City, State, Country

Los Angeles

HM ID

MCA01

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

Yes - $1,000 - $5,000

Favorite Season

None

Sponsor

Knight Foundation

State

California

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Kansas

Birth Date

12/25/1932

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Wichita

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Barbecue

Short Description

Architect Charles McAfee (1932 - ) is internationally recognized for his architectural work. McAfee is known for his work wide ranging work including; the renovation of Oklahoma City School District 89, Atlanta's North Line Midtown Station, Wichita's Calvary Baptist Church, and McAdams Park.

Employment

Charles F. McAfee Architects and Planners

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Green

Timing Pairs
0,0:33820,319:56168,631:68946,792:90695,1071:91571,1091:105530,1330:129110,1645:137020,1742$0,0:95315,1322:100934,1372:101350,1377:124860,1747:129020,1832:129820,1843:132060,1899:132540,1908:144130,2045
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Charles McAfee's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Charles McAfee lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Charles McAfee talks about his parents

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Charles McAfee talks about his family history

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Charles McAfee talks about his paternal grandfather

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Charles McAfee talks about his two siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Charles McAfee describes his childhood personality

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Charles McAfee describes his childhood neighborhood

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Charles McAfee talks about influential teachers from his grade school years

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Charles McAfee describes his experience at East High School in Wichita, Kansas

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Charles McAfee talks about racial discrimination in Kansas

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Charles McAfee talks about playing basketball for the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, Nebraska

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Charles McAfee describes his decision to attend the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, Nebraska

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Charles McAfee talks about why his parents sent him to the University of Nebraska

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Charles McAfee shares his experience of racial discrimination in college basketball

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Charles McAfee remembers meeting Jackie Robinson

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Charles McAfee describes his parents' reaction to him playing basketball at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, Nebraska

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Charles McAfee talks about racial discrimination in his architecture class, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Charles McAfee talks about racial discrimination in his architecture class, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Charles McAfee details the early years of his career

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Charles McAfee talks about winning a National Design Award and meeting I.M. Pei

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Charles McAfee talks about his architectural excellence

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Charles McAfee talks about his daughter's decision to become an architect

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Charles McAfee talks about his daughters, Cheryl and Charyl

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Charles McAfee talks about his family

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Charles McAfee talks about the tension he experienced between his professional success and pervasive racial discrimination

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Charles McAfee talks about recruiting Bill Cosby for a fundraiser

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Charles McAfee talks about the discrepancy between black voter participation and the number of contracts awarded to black businesses like his

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Charles McAfee talks about prominent African Americans who left Wichita, Kansas due to the lack of opportunity

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Charles McAfee talks about the impact of a hate crime on his home

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Charles McAfee talks about become an organ donor for his wife, Gloria McAfee

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Charles McAfee talks about the publicity surrounding his wife's kidney transplant

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Charles McAfee talks about an honorary roast thrown by the NAACP

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Charles McAfee talks about HistoryMaker Gordon Parks

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Charles McAfee talks about Mies van der Rohe and Paul Williams

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Charles McAfee talks about his friendship with Paul Williams

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Charles McAfee talks about his own home, which he designed

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Charles McAfee talks about creating homes for people including Andrew Young and the joy of creating a design that clients like

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Charles McAfee describes the building materials he works with

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Charles McAfee talks about his design projects and working with the History Makers Anderson and Abner Jackson

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Charles McAfee describes memorable projects including the McKnight Art Center, the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Plaza Station, and the rail station in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Charles McAfee talks about mentoring young architects, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Charles McAfee talks about mentoring young architects, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Charles McAfee talks about famous African Americans who have experienced racial discrimination in Kansas including Jesse Owens, Barry Sanders, and HistoryMaker Gordon Parks

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Charles McAfee describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Charles McAfee talks about how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Charles McAfee describes his tight-knit family

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Charles McAfee talks about Thornton Clark, an inspiring architect

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Charles McAfee reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Charles McAfee talks about how he hopes to address housing inequality with the modular system

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Charles McAfee narrates his photographs, pt.1

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Charles McAfee narrates his photographs, pt.2

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

2$4

DATitle
Charles McAfee shares his experience of racial discrimination in college basketball
Charles McAfee talks about the tension he experienced between his professional success and pervasive racial discrimination
Transcript
And I didn't run into, into the kind of overt racism, you know, and, and, and that sort of thing until I made the freshman team. And, you know, some days, you know, you can close your eyes and throw the ball up, it goes in the basket. We can only play against each other back in those days prior to the varsity games except one time, and one time they would let you play against a small college or somebody. So we played against a small college that had a small college all-American. I came out there and I think I probably hit the first five or six shots I took. And about 7 or 8,000 people in the stands, and this guy yells across the floor and he says, switch men, I got the nigger. And I stopped dead in my tracks, and I looked over at the referee. He just looked at me. I looked over the guys on, on my bench with my, my teammates, and they were just looking at me. The coach did this--started rubbing the top of his head. I said dang, so I kept playing. This guy dribbled up to me, turned, stuck an elbow in my stomach, and ran in and shot a layup. I'm looking at the ref, like what is this? The referee says play ball. Okay. So he came down. The next time he thought it worked real good that time, and he swung at me with his elbow, but I sidestepped it. And he broke for the basket and I ran right in his tracks. He got ready to go up for the shot and I was all over the top of him. I had the ball in my hand. When I got through, the ball and him were on the floor. The coach snatched me out of the game and was reprimanding me. And I looked at him and I said, my name ain't Jackie Robinson, and I ain't gonna take that crap off of nobody. Now he didn't really understand the totality of what I was telling him.$So I, you know, get out here [Wichita, Kansas]. Things are going well. I got clients all over every place. I get my first project done, Atlanta [Georgia], it's a $35 million wrap in rail station. Again, I do a marvelous job on design and detail on everything and got all kinds of accolades for it. And then I get a job down in Miami [Florida] doing a [Dr.] Martin Luther King [Jr.] wrap in rail station. And then I got a job with the Federal Aviation Administration [FAA] doing seventy-four computer centers all over every place--210, $20 million worth of work--lasted eight years, you know. I mean, I'm, I'm on a serious professional roll, you know. And, and, but at the same time, at the same time, no matter where I was professionally, it's where am I as a person? Where am I as a black man in America? And it was always there, you know, I couldn't belong to the Wichita Club. This was a club where every time they'd bring in a guest speaker for a series at WSU [Wichita State University, Wichita, Kansas], they would have the guest speaker down there for dinner. And the night, the next morning he would speak. Well, [A.] Price Woodard, who was the first and only black man this town has ever had, and I ran his camp, political campaign, as I have numerous others. But Price and I would be the only two black people invited. And so, you know, I didn't like that. I don't like people having to pay for me, you know. So I decide I want to be a member of the Wichita Club. So I have the owner of the newspaper, a guy by the name of Britt Brown, and the owner of the largest construction company in the State of Kansas, a guy named Martin [K.] Eby, Sr.--they are the two people who recommended my membership. My membership got posted at 11:00. They took it down before noon 'cause it had twenty-six typewritten letters in opposition of my membership to the Wichita Club. Said, well, we like Charlie but, you know, all those other black people may want to join? Big deal. Well, so this kind of stuff went on and on and on.

Wendell Campbell

Wendell Campbell was born on April 27, 1927 in East Chicago, Indiana. Three months after he graduated from high school as a National Honor Society scholar, he was drafted into the U.S. Army. Campbell eventually received his B.A. in Architecture and City Planning at the Illinois Institute of Technology, where he was offered a full-tuition scholarship from Commonwealth Edison, in 1957.

He worked as an architect from 1956 until 1966, when he became president of Campbell & Mascai architectural/urban planning company. In 1966, he became the CEO of Wendell Campbell Associates, Inc., which has since changed its name to Campbell Tiu Campbell to reflect the contributions of partners Domingo Tiu and Campbell's daughter Susan. Noted projects for the firm include: the DuSable Museum of African American History, the McCormick Place Expansion, King Drive Gateway, redevelopment plans for the City of New Orleans and the new Bronzeville Military Academy.

Campbell was a founder and the first president of the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA), founded in 1971. He served on the Board of Directors for the Illinois Chapter of NOMA, the Cosmopolitan Chamber of Commerce, the Mercy Hospital and Medical Center, the Black Ensemble Theater, the Chicago Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, the Chicago Architectural Assistance Center, and the South Side YMCA. He was also a member of the City of Chicago Capital Improvement Advisory Council and the City of Chicago Committee on Standards and Tests.

Campbell was dedicated to improving the quality of affordable housing in metropolitan centers through the design of "Smart Homes," housing that brings 21st century technology to the varied needs of today's urban families.

Campbell married June Crusor Campbell in 1954. They lived in Chicago and had two daughters, Susan Campbell Smith and Leslie Campbell.

Campbell passed away on July 16, 2008 at age 81.

Wendell Campbell - Short

Unidentified/AMC - 144 words

Wendell Campbell was born on April 27, 1927, in East Chicago, Indiana. Campbell received his B.A. in architecture and city planning at the Illinois Institute of Technology in 1957. In 1966, he became the CEO of Wendell Campbell Associates, which since changed its name to Campbell Tiu Campbell to reflect the contributions of partners Domingo Tiu and Campbell's daughter, Susan. Campbell was a founder and the first president of the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA), founded in 1971. He has served on various boards of directors and has had numerous professional and civic affiliations. Campbell is dedicated to improving the quality of affordable housing in metropolitan centers through the design of "smart homes," housing that brings twenty-first-century technology to the varied needs of today's urban families. Campbell married June Crusor Campbell in 1954. They have two daughters, Susan Campbell Smith and Leslie Campbell.

Accession Number

A2002.146

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/14/2002 |and| 8/21/2002

Last Name

Campbell

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Abraham Lincoln Elementary Sch

Benjamin Franklin Elem School

Illinois Institute of Technology

First Name

Wendell

Birth City, State, Country

East Chicago

HM ID

CAM04

Favorite Season

None

State

Indiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

South America

Favorite Quote

You're as good as you want to be and nothing is impossible if you want it.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

4/27/1927

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Macaroni, Cheese

Death Date

7/16/2008

Short Description

Architect Wendell Campbell (1927 - 2008 ) was the founder of the National Organization of Minority Architects.

Employment

Campbell & Mascai Architectural/Urban Planning Company

Wendell Campbell Associates, Inc.

Favorite Color

Blue, Green

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Wendell Campbell's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Wendell Campbell lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Wendell Campbell talks about his mother, Selma Campbell

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Wendell Campbell talks about his grandmother's rooming house in East Indiana, Chicago

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Wendell Campbell talks about his great-great grandmother, who was President Howard Taft's cook

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Wendell Campbell describes his father, Herman Campbell

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Wendell Campbell talks about his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Wendell Campbell talks about his parents' siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Wendell Campbell talks about his grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Wendell Campbell talks about his first experience with racial discrimination

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Wendell Campbell talks about picketing a theater in East Chicago, Indiana to protest unlawful discrimination

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Wendell Campbell describes his experience of segregation in high school

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Wendell Campbell talks about teaching woodshop classes as a high school student

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Wendell Campbell talks about his first job at an architecture firm

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Wendell Campbell talks about working on urban renewal in East Chicago, Indiana and the start of his business, Wendell Campbell Associates

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Wendell Campbell describes influential elementary school teachers

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Wendell Campbell describes how he realized the need for black urban planners during his freshman year at the Illinois Institute of Technology

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Wendell Campbell talks about World War II as a means of advancement for African Americans

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Wendell Campbell about membership restrictions in the American Institute of Architects (AIA) that affected his ability to win contracts

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Wendell Campbell talks about his design of St. Mark A.M.E. Zion Church in East Chicago, Indiana

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Wendell Campbell talks about a negative experience with a church that was reversed

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Wendell Campbell talks about how he met his wife, June Campbell

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Wendell Campbell talks about his daughters and grandchildren

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Wendell Campbell narrates his photographs

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Wendell Campbell's architectural work, pt.1

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Wendell Campbell's architectural work, pt.2

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Wendell Campbell's architectural work, pt.3

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Wendell Campbell's photographs

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Wendell Campbell talks about his career and his company, Campbell Tiu Campbell

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Wendell Campbell describes the influence of Mies van der Rohe and Ludwig Hilberseimer on his design concept

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Wendell Campbell describes his design of a building for senior citizens in East Chicago, Indiana

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Wendell Campbell talks about protesting racial discrimination

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Wendell Campbell talks about his work on city and government projects

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Wendell Campbell talks about construction bonds and problem solving

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Wendell Campbell talks about his daughter, Susan Campbell, who became vice president of Campbell Tiu Campbell

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Wendell Campbell talks about his high rate of client referrals

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Wendell Campbell talks about his work for the City of Chicago including Farragut High School, the Public Building Commission, King Drive Gateway, and McCormick Place

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Wendell Campbell talks about working with Mayor Harold Washington

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Wendell Campbell describes his work in Gary, Indiana with Mayor Richard G. Hatcher

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Wendell Campbell talks about his business philosophy and building schools in Gary, Indiana

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Wendell Campbell talks about his role in the creation and leadership of the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA)

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Wendell Campbell talks about well-known African American architects like Marshall Purnell, Paul Devrouax, Harold Williams, Paul Williams, and HistoryMaker John Chase

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Wendell Campbell talks about integrating technological advances at his firm

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Wendell Campbell talks about the Smart Homes in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Wendell Campbell talks about placing computers in Smart Homes

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Wendell Campbell talks about creating jobs in the community through Smart Homes

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Wendell Campbell describes adapting Smart Homes for multi-family use

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Wendell Campbell talks about duplicating the Smart Homes model

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Wendell Campbell about the adaptability of Smart Homes

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Wendell Campbell talks about how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Wendell Campbell talks about a current project

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Wendell Campbell reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Wendell Campbell shares his dreams for the next generation of architects

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Wendell Campbell talks about his wife, June Campbell

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Wendell Campbell describes how he met his wife, June Campbell

DASession

1$2

DATape

2$5

DAStory

3$2

DATitle
Wendell Campbell talks about working on urban renewal in East Chicago, Indiana and the start of his business, Wendell Campbell Associates
Wendell Campbell describes the influence of Mies van der Rohe and Ludwig Hilberseimer on his design concept
Transcript
And when I graduated from IIT [Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, Illinois], I got a call from my father [Herman Campbell] back in East Chicago [Indiana] and his property that was a house that we grew up in was in the middle of urban renewal area that they were talking about clearing and they had asked my father to come in and to talk about them purchasing his house. And he didn't understand a lot of the terminology and he knew I was majoring in planning as well as architectural, would I come out there and talk to them. And I did and I either asked the right questions or the wrong questions 'cause the next day they called me and offered me a job at the foundation [Purdue Calumet Development Foundation] working with them with urban renewal. And I accepted and I took that job for ten years where I drew up urban renewal plans for the area and one of the things, again coming back from my youth, I inserted in there people--a phrase in the urban renewal plan--the people that were being displaced for urban renewal action, had the right to get back on their own property and all they had to do was just match the minimum price that was appraised and they could get it. And so then I would talk people into going in and come in with a bid on the thing and I would work in the evenings and help them develop plan to coincided that would be acceptable. And they would do this and finally the--my boss told me one day, you feel so strong about that you should get on the other side of the table and open up your own office. And that's what I did, that's how I formed Wendell Campbell Associates in 1966. And the first job that I received was from my former bosses who paid me in one month but they had paid me before in a year (laughter) and so the firm started with three people, myself and my boss' secretary and another gentlemen who's still with me and has now about thirty, thirty people. And we do all kinds of architectural projects across the world.$What was it like being instructed by or working with [Ludwig] Mies van der Rohe?$$Mies van der Rohe was very busy at the time that I was there in developing his own private practice. And there was a gentleman that came over from the Bauhaus school with him as one of the professors and that was [Ludwig] Hilberseimer and he was the planner of the three, there was three, Hilberseimer, Mocassin (ph) and Mies van der Rohe and all of them came over right immediately following World War II. And they were the instruments which created the Illinois Institute of Technology Architectural Department. He was--Mies would concentrate with mostly the graduate students, Hilberseimer concentrated with the whole school and I spent quite bit of my time working under him.$$Your, your, your designs have that clean and un-cluttered look. They are always in style, really very classy.$$Oh thank you.$$All your buildings are. I mean I noticed that in the booklet here--I guess some of that comes from your instructors, but a lot of it comes from your taste, your concept. Talk to us about your design concept.$$I actually--as one the things, two things that I learned from IIT, one was Mies would always say, less is more and the other is that the most things that--the best thing you can get out of going to a college department and degree is the ability how to learn how to think, how to approach a problem, how to solve it and carry it through to a reasonable solution. And I'm very proud of the fact that I think that I was more impressed his ability to teach you how to think then me to try to imitate Mies. We had a lot of the students that would go around try to walk like him and talk like him and dress like him. I said I wasn't interested in being a little Mies. I wanted to be the best that I could be as an individual. So a lot of times most of the problem that I had were problems that confronted me or confronted the community which I was practicing in and how to make that a better community. And I always felt that the combination of both architecture and sociology that people didn't necessary buy houses, but they selected communities in which to live. They had to have good schools, had a good shopping area, you had to be able to have adequate transportation and all of these were part of the basic thing, the house was just one basic unit in an entire environment and my thing was trying to deal with the whole environment which included the house as the nucleus.$$And that whole concept, the wholeness concept gives you more control 'cause you can think about the next--so it's easier--doesn't it get easier to develop if you're thinking project wise? Even though you might have two buildings for the first phase, but if you know how all these things are going to fit into each other. You did something like that for [Purdue Calumet Development] Foundation didn't you?$$Yes, very much. Actually what I did when I was at the Foundation is go out and surveyed large tracks of land blocks, visited almost all the houses in that block, going from the basement all the way up through to the attic to really get a feel of that house and determine whether or not the house could be conserved, rehabilitated or should be demolished and a new structure in its place, all the time dealing with people who occupied those houses. And after I left the Foundation, I of course, concentrated on large organizations, groups of people which usually the church was a foundation for and help them to create their own environment using the various tools that were available through urban renewal and so on to make that task easier.