Monday, February 13, 2012

Black History Month: Day (11, 12) 13| Sklarek, McAlphin, Keckley

Norma Merrick Sklarek
April 15, 1926- February 6, 2012
A Harlem native, Norma attended Barnard College and Columbia University’s School of Architecture.  There were only two women to graduate from the school in 1950… she was one of them.  After graduating, getting a job seemed to be a difficult thing.  Norma was turned down 19 times STRAIGHT for a job.  However, there is always light.  Norma Merrick Sklarek later became the first Black woman to become a licensed architect:  in New York in 1954 and California in 1962. 
She helped produced Terminal 1 at Los Angeles International airport, as well as, the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo.  She, also, became the first elected fellow of the American Institute of Architects in 1966.  In 1985, Sklarek was named as a founder partner of Siegel-Skalrek-Diamond, , one of the largest women only architectural firms in the U.S.  Unfortunately, Norma passed away just last Monday due to heart failure.  Her designs will continue to live on..

Harry S. McAlpin
(birthdate unknown)

Harry S. McAlpin ws the first Black journalist admitted to a white house press conference.  At the time, he was working for the National Negro Press Association and the Atlanta Daily Word.  It has been reported that the head of the White House Press Correspondents Association said to McAlpin   Harry, we’re not happy that you’re here, but we can’t stop you from going to these press conferences.  However, if you don’t go to these press conferences, we will come out afterward and we will tell you everything that happened.  You will have the exact same notes we do.  You will find it possible to write the same stories that we do.  And, if you don’t go, we will let you join the White House Press Correspondents Association.”  {aaregistry} 
McAlpin passed up on his offer and went to the press conference personally.  At the end, he stopped by President Roosevelt’s desk to shake his hand.  It was reported that Roosevelt responded..” Harry… I’m glad to have you here”.

Elizabeth Keckley
February 1818- May 1907

Born in Hillsborough, NC, inherited her sewing skills from her Mom who sewed for the Colonel’s family.  Keckley’s skills eventually helped her earn freedom for both her and her son.  It was then, she relocated to Baltimore, MD. 
 In Baltimore, Keckley started a school for young black girls to teach them proper sewing skills and etiquette.  She became the personal dressmaker for Mary Todd Lincoln, President Lincoln’s wife, after she pleased Mrs. Lincoln on her Inaugural Ball Gown. 
 Spending a substantial amount of time with the Lincoln’s, Keckley decided to write a book:  Behind the Scenes.  It was about the life of Mrs. Lincoln and what took place in the White House during Lincoln’s presidency.  Many considered the book to be VERY controversial and Mary’s eldest son had the book removed from publication.  Elizabeth Keckley was , also, the president and founder of the first black Contraband Relief Association.

No comments:

Post a Comment