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Entertaining and compelling real-life stories. The author is successful business, real estate, and media entrepreneur Dick Kazan.
Published on December 12th, 2017
Robert Robinson Taylor: The U.S.’s first accredited black architect, and his great work.

Robert Robinson Taylor
Robert Robinson Taylor
Photo: mitblackhistory.blogspot.com

After the U.S. Civil War (1865), millions of slaves were set free but most had not been taught to read and write, for it had been illegal.

Educating ex-slaves was a huge task, with Booker T. Washington (1856 – 1915) and Robert Robinson Taylor (1868 – 1942) playing a crucial role.

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In Alabama, Mr. Washington was given a small tract of land with a rundown church and a shed, and began raising money to buy more land to build classrooms and other facilities for what today is Tuskegee University.

Architect: Robert Robinson Taylor
Architect: Robert Robinson Taylor

Meanwhile, Robert Robinson Taylor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s first black graduate (1892), and the U.S.’s first formally trained black architect, created that campus.

Mr. Taylor designed and built dozens of buildings. To teach architecture and create artisans, he taught his students how to make building materials and they joined him in designing and constructing the buildings.

He created a masterpiece of architecture that inspired donors, faculty and students of his time, all the way through today.

Mr. Taylor did this with students Americans looked down upon as less than human. But he instilled confidence and pride in them, while teaching them the skills to land jobs despite the extreme level of bigotry against them.

Over the years, thousands of students have attended Tuskegee, whose academics are so strong, that now those students come not just from the U.S. but from 30 other nations.

Mr. Taylor’s legacy is displayed in the beauty of the original campus, which continues to educate students today.

Editor's Note: Mr. Taylor was also the architect of some beautiful buildings on other historically black campuses. To learn more, click here and here.

To learn more about Booker T. Washington, click here. To learn more about Tuskegee University, click here and here.

In the next KazanToday: The man who revolutionized mobility for disabled people.


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