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Black History: Powerful people from the Trade Industry.

Black History has revolved around revisiting the journey of African Americans in the United States. We have overcome and raised our consciousness above and beyond the chains and pain of us once being slaves. African Americans have contributed greatly in building and developing America.

In the field of architecture, many blacks had a tremendous impact throughout history. Have you ever heard of Robert Robinson Taylor or Julian Abele? Taylor was the first academically trained and credentialed black architect in America. He designed multiple buildings on the Tuskegee College campus and other academic buildings across the United States.

Another piece of history took place at a college that is predominantly known today for its basketball program. The school is in North Carolina – Duke University, home of the Blue Devils. Who would have guessed that at one point in time it was an institution for whites only, yet, a black man, Julian Abele, ended up contributing to the design of the Duke West college campus. Indeed, at a time of racial tension and segregation, a black man was part of designing a higher learning institution. In 2016, Duke University renamed a campus quad in honor of Abele.

Also, has anyone been to LAX Airport when traveling through the West Coast in California? This airport typically remains in a state of ongoing construction , but can you guess who designed terminal one? Have you ever heard of Norma Merrick Sklarek? She is noted as being the first black women pioneer in the field of architecture. She has contributed to so many other projects, including the US Embassy in Tokyo.

Now here is a little bit of my own trade history. My father has been a plumber since 1978, and he passed on his knowledge of plumbing to me. Growing up, I never saw many women in the field of plumbing. Thankfully our world is ever-changing, so there is another person I would like to mention that made history in the same field of plumbing. Trend setter, game-changer, great businesswoman Adrienne Bennett goes down in plumbing history! She is America’s first female African American master plumber.

“At the age of 30, while surrounded by men, Bennett became the first black female master plumber in the United States. Now, 30 years later, she is CEO of her own contracting company, Detroit-based Benkari LLC.”


We need more future history in the making – we need more African Americans achieving professional milestones and becoming pioneers! African Americans’ history will always go deeper and further than just being slaves, because we have always had a role in building up the America we know today. I would love to see more blacks make more history by continuing the building legacy we have been part of in the construction/ trade industries.

Blog Author

2022 Reader’s Digest Author Charles Chadwick Construction/Security Contractor. Specializing in mentoring students through the college and trade industry pathways. Follow Facebook/Instagram @Reducecollegedebt

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