In 2020, Archinect reported that the number of Black female architects in the United States had grown — but the number just barely hit 500. Architecture is such a vital part of our lives, yet many are still pointing out the lack of equity within the industry. Black women architects like Georgia Louise Harris Brown and Beverly Loraine Greene have paved the way. Both were born a little before the 1920s, and were some of the first Black women to receive their architecture licenses.
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Norma Merrick Sklarek also holds this distinction — additionally, she was the first Black woman to be named a Fellow by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) in 1980, according to Columbia News. Two years after Archinect's report, the number of Black women licensed architects hasn't grown much — showing there's still work to be done.
"The 532 Black women architects working in America today represent just 0.4% of all licensed architects in the U.S.," Fireclay Tile shares in a recent press release. The company launched a Diversity Advancement Scholarship, in partnership with Architects Foundation, for aspiring Black women architects. Together, they hope to raise $75,000 — with their ultimate goal at $100,00 — to offer three scholarships this year. According to the brand, $25,000 supports one student. The campaign is open to donations, with Fireclay Tile sharing that two scholarships were given to prospective architecture students last year.
According to Architects Foundation, the organization recently shifted its scholarship plan to support Black women through multiple years; in addition, the "AIA invested $1 million in 2013 and 2016 to set up and grow a scholarship endowment."
You can learn more about the initiative here.