School of Architecture

oral history of texas architecture project

African American Architecture in Dallas: Past, Present, and Future
3rd Annual Oral History of Texas Architecture Project Symposium

March 26, 2011  |  Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas

Sponsored by the School of Architecture University of Texas Arlington and the Dallas Architecture Forum.

Venue generously provided by the Nasher Sculpture Center; reception sponsored by Good Fulton & Farrell

Symposium organizer: Kate Holliday, Assistant Professor, School of Architecture, University of Texas Arlington, with assistance from Preservation Dallas and the Dallas Chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architects

African-American Architecture in Dallas: Past Present Future provides insight into the ways that African American architects and neighborhoods have helped shape the city of Dallas in the twentieth century.   Speakers in the morning session will address the role that individual practitioners like William Sidney Pittman, Texas’s first African-American architect, played in building the urban landscape in the early twentieth century, before World War II.  Pittman’s Knights of Pythias Temple stands on Elm Street as a lone reminder of the prosperous professional African-American community that once occupied Deep Ellum and old North Dallas.

The afternoon session will focus on the generation of architects who came of age in Dallas after the founding of the National Organization of Minority Architects in 1971.  John S. Chase, a Houston-based architect and first licensed African-American architect in Texas, was a founding member of the group.  Speakers include founding members of the Dallas Chapter of NOMA and alumni of Chase’s Dallas office, who will consider their design work in the city and the role of NOMA in their practices.

*REGISTER HERE* through the Dallas Architecture Forum


Fees (includes coffee, soft drinks):

  • Symposium: $50
  • Dallas Architecture Forum and Nasher Sculpture Center members; UTA faculty/staff: $35
  • Students: $15


11:00  -  Nasher opens, event registration.  Coffee and soft drinks available.

11:30  -  Introductory remarks – Mark Gunderson, Don Gatzke, Kate Holliday

11:45  -  Morning session 

The Knights of Pythias Building and Pre-war African-American Dallas

  • Dr. Richard Dozier, Tuskegee University – William Sidney Pittman and African American architectural practice
  • Dr. Marvin Dulaney, University of Texas Arlington – Pittman, the Knights of Pythias Building and African-American Dallas
  • Dr. Marsha Prior, Geo-Marine – Lost Cultural Landscapes of African-American Dallas
  • Katherine Seale, Preservation Dallas, moderator

1:15  -  Lunch Break

2:30  -  Afternoon session

Panel discussion: Post-war African-American architecture in Dallas and the founding of NOMA

  • Al Bryant, Bryant-Blair Group, NOMA, Dallas
  • Darrell Fitzgerald, FAIA, NOMA, Fitzgerald Collaborative, Atlanta
  • Michael Johnson, AIA, NOMA, Johnson-McKibben, Dallas 
  • Clyde Porter, FAIA, NOMA, Dallas County Community College District

4:30  -  Tour and reception, St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, 1816 Routh Street, Dallas.  Tour of the building, restored in 2010, led by Jon Rollins, AIA, NCARB, Good Fulton & Farrell, restoration architects.  Reception generously sponsored by Good Fulton & Farrell and organized by Preservation Dallas

Speaker bios:

Dr. Richard Dozier is Dean of the Taylor School of Architecture and Construction Science at Tuskegee University in Alabama.  He received his undergraduate and graduate degrees in architecture from Yale University and his doctorate from the University of Michigan.  Dr. Dozier was a resident fellow at the W.E.B. DuBois Institute at Harvard University from and the recipient of a Fulbright Award that allowed him to study urban preservation in Brazil.  His research covers many aspects of preservation and architecture, and he has written and lectured frequently about the history of African- American architectural practice in the United States. 

Dr. Marvin Dulaney is Associate Professor of History at the University of Texas Arlington.  He received his doctorate from Ohio State University and was director of the Avery Research Center for African-American History and Culture at the College of Charleston for many years.  Dr. Dulaney is the author of the forthcoming book Blacks in Dallas, to be published by Texas A&M University Press and he is involved in numerous community outreach projects, including the Juanita Craft Historic Community in Dallas and Project SPARKS, a collaboration with the Dallas Independent School District.

Darrell Fitzgerald, FAIA is principal in the Fitzgerald Collaborative headquartered in Atlanta.  He earned his undergraduate degree in architecture from the University of Pennsylvania and his graduate degree from the GSD at Harvard University.  Mr. Fitzgerald was a principal for Gensler Worldwide in Atlanta for 12 years and prior to that worked with John Chase for 20 years, first in his Houston, then as the managing partner of the firm’s Dallas office.  He is the recipient of numerous awards, including a national AIA Honor Award for Community Service.  

Clyde Porter, FAIA is Vice Chancellor of Facilities Management/Planning for the Dallas County Community College District.  He earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees in architecture from Prairie View A&M University.   In 2009 he was the recipient of the AIA’s Whitney M. Young, Jr. Award, recognizing his outstanding record of social responsibility in practice.  He has served as chair of the Dallas AIA’s Minority Resources Committee and prior to his work with DCCCD Mr. Porter served as chief architect for the Dallas Area Rapid Transit Authority (DART).   

Dr. Marsha Prior is a cultural anthropologist and Director of Historical Research Services for Geo-Marine, Inc.  She earned her PhD from Southern Methodist University and is an expert in the field of cultural resources management.  Dr. Prior has authored numerous reports on the history of Texas, including award-winning analyses of the development of Fort Bliss and spent many years researching the African-American neighborhoods of Freedman’s Town and the old North Dallas.  She co-authored “From Freedman’s Town to Uptown,” which appeared in Urban Anthropology in 2005.

Katherine Seale is Director of Preservation Dallas, an organization dedicated to historic preservation of the Dallas’s neighborhoods and architecture.  She joined the group in 2001 to direct “Discover Dallas,” a city-wide survey of significant cultural resources, and became director in 2007.  Seale has trained and organized more than 500 volunteers to participate in the survey and to become engaged in the preservation of the city’s heritage.  She earned her BA in art history from Southwestern University in Georgetown and her MA in architectural history from the University of Virginia.