One of the most sidelined American architects is African American architect Julian Francis Abele who is noted to have designed several important buildings including one of the world’s most prestigious universities, Duke University, and a part of Harvard University.
Julian Francis Abele became one of the first black architects in the U.S. in 1902 after finishing a two-year architectural drawing course at the Pennsylvania Museum School of Industrial Art in which he was enrolled in 1898. Before then, he studied mathematics at the Institute of Colored Youth (now Cheyney University) excelling exceptionally and giving the commencement address at the graduation.
While at the Pennsylvania Museum School of Industrial Art, he served as president of the Architectural Society. In 1901, he won an architectural students’ competition for designing a pedestrian gateway that was built on the Haverford College campus.
Right after school, his first job was to design a house for his older sister Elizabeth Abele Cook in Washington after he moved back to Pennsylvania to school at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. He worked in the evening as a part-time architect.