Why is it important to expand the American narrative to include the accomplishments and stories of Black Americans?
The reason it’s important to expand the American narrative to include the accomplishments and stories of Black Americans is to preserve the future of black excellence. We have been fortunate to read and hear the stories of Black designers and architects who paved ways for future black designers. Books and articles about black designers tell the stories about the enormous challenges Black architects faced. They faced their challenges head on and had the determination necessary to succeed. Today we have their stories and some of our world’s most admired structures. Famous Black architects who paved the way — like Robert Robinson Taylor who helped Booker T. Washington establish the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, and Vertner Woodson Tandy, who was the first Black architect to join the AIA and also the architect who designed the 1918 Villa Lewaro for Madam C.J. Walker — are examples of Black excellence. Their stories and dedication help push the Black narrative forward, so the next generation of designers can construct this time’s most admired structures. All in all, it’s very important to expand the American narrative to include the accomplishments and stories of Black Americans, because … we’re next!
Joshua Sims, BUPD 2018, is a graduate architect at Studio M Architecture and Planning in Carmel, Ind.