Veranda Looks at Black Architects and Notes NOMA’s Work and History

Screenshot of Veranda website
Screenshot of Veranda’s headline and article including an image of Paul Williams

by Steele Marcoux Editor in Chief of Veranda

At VERANDA, we believe our built environment informs how we understand our own communities and reflects who we are as a society. We are committed to featuring more work from contemporary architects of color on our site, our social platforms, and in the pages of our magazine. By and large, that work would not have been possible without the rich body of work created by America’s first Black architects, all of whom were true pioneers—not just for design professions but also for American society.

Several were the first Black students to enroll at some of the country’s top academic and research institutions; several opened other businesses, like banks, that served the Black community; many served on boards at some of America’s most prestigious cultural institutions; and nearly all spent time teaching at or designing buildings for many of the country’s top historically black colleges and universities. Importantly, a group of 12 pioneering Black architects, including Wendell Campbell featured here, founded the National Organization for Minority Architects in 1971 in Detroit to “minimize the effect of racism” within the architecture profession.

In support of the Black Lives Matter movement and in response to George Floyd’s murder and other acts of violence against Black Americans, NOMA has revised its mission statement to the following: “NOMA’s mission, rooted in a rich legacy of activism, is to empower our local chapters and membership to foster justice and equity in communities of color through outreach, community advocacy, professional development, and design excellence.”