Back to All Events

Shifting the Landscape: Black Architects and Planners, 1968 to Now

  • National Museum of African American History and Culture 1400 Constitution Avenue Northwest Washington, DC, 20560 United States (map)

The National Museum of African American History and Culture invites you to join us for Shifting the Landscape: Black Architects and Planners, 1968 to Now presented by the National Museum of African American History and Culture, September 27-29, 2018.

 This three-day symposium taking place at the museum in Washington, DC examines the activism, engagement, and impact of black architects and planners after Whitney M. Young, Jr.’s landmark 1968 address to the American Institute of Architects. It will bring together industry professionals, scholars and students, and luminaries of the era for thought provoking discussions about the achievements as well as challenges within architecture and planning over the past fifty years.

Why 1968? In June 1968, Whitney M. Young Jr., Executive Director of the National Urban League, delivered a landmark address to the American Institute of Architects (AIA). He called for more diversity in the profession and challenged architects to act on critical issues facing urban communities. Following Young’s speech, new funding initiatives opened doors for minority students to pursue architecture and planning degrees in greater numbers. Also during this era, architect J. Max Bond Jr. mentored several students and shaped their commitments to social justice and community needs.

Given this rich context, the symposium asks:

  1. What can we learn from that pivotal era in the late 1960s?

  2. What are black architects and planners passionate about today?

  3. Who is leading the way forward, and how?

Speakers include: Sharon Egretta Sutton, Keynote Presentation; Carla Jackson Bell; Michael Ford; Toni L. Griffin; Zena Howard; Malo Hutson; Olalekan Jeyifous; Melvin L. Mitchell; Curtis Moody; Renee Kemp-Rotan; Richard Dozier; Sara Zewde, among others.

Symposium Overview

Thursday, Sept 27, 4:00pm - 8:30pm

  • Activism in Architecture and Planning: 1968 in Review

Friday, Sept 28, 8:45am - 7:30pm

  • Keynote Presentation

  • Building a Legacy

  • Designing for the Culture

  • Planning for Justice

Saturday, Sept 29, 2:00pm - 4:00pm (at the National Museum of African Art)

  • Shifting the Lens: Diaspora Perspectives on Architecture and Design


  • To bring greater visibility to black architects by sharing past achievements and current challenges as well as new passions and enduring commitments

  • To include planners in conversations about the work black architects and other design professionals undertake within the built environment

  • To highlight the projects and advocacy of architects and planners who seek to create just communities and more equitable spaces, thereby improving the quality of life for African Americans and others who have been adversely affected (historically and in the present) by discriminatory policies and practices shaping the built environment

  • To provide students and the general public opportunities to engage with design professionals, thereby making these professions more accessible and attractive career options for future practitioners

Registration opens after July 16. Since this event is open to the public, we anticipate seats will fill quickly. If you plan to attend, be sure to register on or close to the opening day. You may also share the symposium website with individuals who plan to attend, so they can be ready to register next week.

Earlier Event: September 23
The 104th ICMA Annual Conference