I Am Not A Negro

“Yet Williams’ money and talent could not buy him acceptance. Clients refused to sit next to him during meetings, so he taught himself to start drawing upside down. In a 1937 essay for American Magazine called “I Am a Negro,” he wrote:

Today I sketched the preliminary plans for a large country house which will be erected in one of the most beautiful residential districts in the world. Sometimes I have dreamed of living there. I could afford such a home. But this evening, I returned to my own small, inexpensive home . . . in a comparatively undesirable section of Los Angeles. I must always live in that locality, or in another like it, because … I am a Negro.

I have Williams’ quote pasted on every Moleskine I own—not because I’m negative or an angry black woman. It is a reminder of the realities black people have endured throughout the history of the profession. It’s also encouraging; even with this overt racism, Williams still pushed and was a master in his craft.”

“Dear AIA: Please Acknowledge Us When We’re Alive” by Felema Yemaneberhan on CityLab

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