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Meet The Black Woman Behind The One Of The Country’s Few Black-Owned Architecture Firms | Black Enterprise

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Meet The Black Woman Behind The One Of The Country’s Few Black-Owned Architecture Firms | Black Enterprise

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Dana Givens, Black Enterprise

Architecture is an extremely difficult field to enter, especially for people of color. In a 2018 report from the National Council of Architectural Registration Board, nonwhite architecture professionals are 25% more likely to stop pursuing licensure with a nonwhite professional representing 45% of participants in the Architectural Experience Program. Black women are an even smaller margin when it comes to diversity within the sector. One woman decided to take her savings to start her career in architecture and is now celebrating 30 years in the business.

Deryl McKissack is the owner of McKissack & McKissack, a firm responsible for overseeing construction projects including the Obama Presidential Center, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Lincoln, and several Martin Luther King, Jr. memorials. In an interview with BLACK ENTERPRISE, McKissack shares her story about getting into the architecture field and the importance of diversity in the sector.


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Howard University (Howard or simply HU) is a private, federally chartered historically black university (HBCU) in Washington, D.C. It is classified among “R2: Doctoral Universities – High research activity” and accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Tracing its history to 1867, from its outset Howard has been nonsectarian and open to people of all sexes and races. It offers undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees in more than 120 programs, more than any other HBCU in the nation.

Shortly after the end of the American Civil War, members of The First Congregational Society of Washington considered establishing a theological seminary for the education of black clergymen. Within a few weeks, the project expanded to include a provision for establishing a university. Within two years, the University consisted of the Colleges of Liberal Arts and Medicine. The new institution was named for General Oliver Otis Howard, a Civil War hero, who was both the founder of the University and, at the time, Commissioner of the Freedmen’s Bureau. Howard later served as President of the University from 1869 to 1874.

The U.S. Congress chartered Howard on March 10, 1867, and much of its early funding came from endowment, private benefaction, and tuition. (In the 20th and 21st centuries an annual congressional appropriation, administered by the U.S. Department of Education, funds Howard University and Howard University Hospital). In its first five years of operation, Howard University educated over 150,000 freed slaves.

Source – Howard University (Updated: 06 October 2020) Wikipedia. Available at, (Accessed: 11 October 2020)