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Julian Francis Abel

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The next time you make the historic run up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, take a moment to thank Julian Francis Abele, the first African-American graduate of what is now University Pennsylvania Graduate School of Fine Arts.
First African American student to graduate from the University of Pennsylvania’s Department of Architecture  
Julian Francis Abele  was a renowned  architect who designed hundreds of important buildings without receiving proper recognition.
Abele was an architect that used many methods of design. He worked with watercolors, lithography, etching, wood, iron, gold, brass, precious metals stained glass and silver. He lived up to his nickname  “Willing and Able.”

Philadelphia Museum of Art

Philadelphia Library

Widener Library at Harvard

The Institute of Fine Arts at New York University, much of Duke University,

Able was hired by Horace Trumbau in 1902, a firm which had been exclusively white 
His talent was such that it made him chief designer at age 27, which paid him a salary of $12,000 per year in 1912 (more than $250,000 in current dollars).

Julian Francis Abele and Horace Trumbauer

Julian Francis Abele, Ground-Breaking Architect
Philadelphia Architects and Buildings

There are countless untold stories of African American Excellece however these stories are not reflected in the text books that are used to chronicle history. Today there are many black architects in North Carolina but before 1970, it was another story and not a nice one.  The field of architecture made choosing that profession very tough for women, but for minorities it was nearly impossible. There ere almost none for decades. In 1950 there were only two black architects registered in North Carolina. By 1980 the number increased to less than 4%, only 65 out of a total of 1909. Even by 1993, blacks made up only 7.5% of members of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). 

Black Architects

This series profiles the North Carolina pioneers who followed their hearts into architecture despite substantial resistance from both society and industry.

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About Darlene Dancy

Darlene Dancy is the owner of Affordable and Historical Art. Darlene's goal is to educate, motivate and empower people of African descent to learn the rich history of African culture - past & present. Discover Black History written, researched and preserved by African American Scholars. Lectures, Documentaries & Auto Biographies on DVD's and Historical Black Print/Poster art

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