1.21.2008

to reflect & hope

today, through the miracle of youtube, i listened to an inspiring speech given at martin luther king jr's church in atlanta yesterday. some highlights:

"in this country we have deficit. it's a moral deficit....it's an empathy deficit..... we have an inability to recognize ourselves in one another" ~barack obama
"we are all tied together in a single garment of destiny" ~mlk, jr
"nothing worthwhile in this country has ever happened except that somebody somewhere decided to hope" ~barack obama

if you're interested in listening to the entire speech {absolutely worth the 20 mins of your time no matter what your nationality, political awareness, racial background, or religious beliefs many of the truths within are universal} here is a link to it.

along with the dr.king theme many of us are reflecting on today, it's interesting to realize that the theme of race in american architecture is one not often discussed. the unfortunate truth is the african americans who helped design & build the united states faced enormous social and economic barriers. in 1930, only about 60 blacks were listed as registered architects, and many of their buildings have since been lost or radically changed. although conditions have improved, many feel that black architects today still lack the recognition they deserve. so today i'd like to highlight a talented and inspiring architect who most definitely deserves some attention: mr. paul revere williams {1894-1980}.

in paul williams' 50 year career, he became renown for designing major buildings such as the los angeles international airport, saks fifth avenue department store, beverly hills hotels, and over 2000 homes in southern california. many of the most beautiful residences in hollywood were created by paul williams. as the los angeles times observed recently, “if you have a picture in your mind of southern california in the 1950s and early 1960s, you are quite likely picturing a building created by paul williams.”
but the most remarkable aspect of william's story is that he accomplished all this amidst difficult challenges few ever face. he had been told as a teenager that “a negro” couldn’t be an architect; he proved otherwise, though it meant riding to job sites in segregated train cars and perfecting the skill of upside-down drawing (so he could sit across the table from clients, rather than lean over them, lest his proximity make them uncomfortable). "he was completely undaunted by racism,” says the architect’s granddaughter, karen hudson, who has authored two books on his career and life.
he was a pioneer in every sense. the first black member of the american institute of architects and its first black fellow, he served on state and presidential commissions and traveled the world designing structures. closer to home, he was a statesman for the african-american community and built some of its most enduring landmarks.

here's to hoping for continued change towards more equailty and diversity and abundance for all.





all information and photos from about.com

4 comments:

Calie Anderson, C.I.D. said...

Anjie, what a lovely post! I loved the quotes from Obama and all the background on black architecture. Thank you for your kind words, it's been a busy few weeks. I hope things are going well for you too.

XOXO Calie

studio wellspring said...

hi calie! glad you liked the post and glad you're doing well. i'm so excited to hear more about your projects soon. xxoo, anj

tangobaby said...

Wow, what an inspiring and educational post. I love coming here to learn and see something beautiful.

studio wellspring said...

thanks tango baby ~ likewise when viewing your blog. congrats on that iphone btw ~ so awesome!