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Sandra L. Tatman

(Francis)

(b Philadelphia, PA, April 29, 1881; d Philadelphia, PA, April 23, 1950).

African American architect. Born and educated in Philadelphia, Abele was the chief designer in the firm of Horace Trumbauer. Unknown for most of his life, Julian Abele has become renowned as a pioneer African American architect.

Abele attended the Institute for Colored Youth and Brown Preparatory School before enrolling at the Pennsylvania Museum School of Industrial Art, where in 1898 he earned his Certificate in Architectural Drawing and the Frederick Graff Prize for work in Architectural Design, Evening Class Students. Abele then enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania. Again he distinguished himself in the architectural program, and at his 1902 graduation he was awarded the prestigious Arthur Spayd Brooke Memorial Prize. Abele’s work was also exhibited in the Toronto Architectural Club (1901), the T-Square Club Annual Exhibition (1901–2), and the Pittsburgh Architectural Club annual exhibition of 1903.

As an undergraduate Abele worked for Louis C. Hickman (...

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Mark Alan Hewitt

(b Los Angeles, CA, Feb 18, 1894; d Los Angeles, CA, Jan 23, 1980).

American architect. Educated in Los Angeles public schools, Williams was asked by a high school counselor why he wanted to be an architect rather than a doctor, lawyer, or fine artist. His answer was “that I had heard of only one Negro architect in America, and I was sure this country could use one or two more.” Williams went on to become the first African American licensed to practice architecture in California (1921), the first African American Fellow of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) (1957), and the designer of more than 3000 projects for clients as diverse as the US Navy, Frank Sinatra, and Lucille Ball.

Williams’s parents, Chester Stanley and Lila Wright Williams, migrated to California from Memphis, TN, in 1893 to establish a fruit business, taking their older son, Chester Stanley, with them. Paul was born in Los Angeles while they lived in a house on Santee Street. Neither parent was able to find lucrative work; his father was employed as a waiter and his mother as a dressmaker. Chester Williams died in 1896 and his wife two years later, leaving two orphan boys to be cared for by neighbors....