Tag: National Treasure

Madam C.J. Walker’s “Villa Lewaro” Estate in New York Protected as National Treasure with Preservation Easement

Madame CJ Walker; Villa Lewaro, exterior and interior (photos: David Bohl; Walker Family Archives)

by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)

On the heels of launching the African-American Cultural Heritage Action Fund, the largest preservation campaign ever undertaken on behalf of African-American history, the National Trust for Historic Preservation announced a preservation easement on Madam C.J. Walker’s estate, Villa Lewaro. A powerful preservation tool, the easement prevents current and future owners from making adverse changes to or demolishing the estate’s historic, cultural and architectural features.

Madam C.J. Walker (December 23, 1867–May 25, 1919), America’s first self-made female millionaire, commissioned Villa Lewaro, her “Dream of Dreams,” at the height of her wealth and prominence as inventor and entrepreneur of haircare products for African-American women. Constructed in 1918, alongside the Hudson River in Irvington, New York, Madam Walker’s elegant residence was built to inspire African-Americans to reach their highest potential.

Designed by Vertner Tandy—the first African-American registered architect in the state of New York and one of the seven founders of  Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.—the 34-room mansion served as the intellectual gathering place for notable leaders of the Harlem Renaissance, such as W. E. B. Du Bois and Langston Hughes.

“On the 150th anniversary of her birth, we are delighted to have played a lead role in the lasting protection of Madam C.J. Walker’s tangible legacy,” said Brent Leggs, director of the National Trust’s African-American Cultural Heritage Action Fund. “The legal protection of irreplaceable historic sites like Villa Lewaro, one of the most significant places in women’s history, is essential in telling the full American story and inspiring future generations.”

Since designating the site as a National Treasure in 2014, the National Trust has worked with Villa Lewaro’s current owners and exceptional stewards, Ambassador and Mrs. Harold E. Doley, Jr., to recognize its architectural and historical significance and secure long-term protections before the property changes hands. The easement marks a successful culmination of those efforts.

Villa Lewaro stands as a living monument to Madam Walker’s entrepreneurial spirit and remains central to understanding her unprecedented achievement during an era when neither women nor African Americans were considered full citizens. Soon to be portrayed by award-winning actress Octavia Spencer in a series produced by LeBron James, Madam Walker’s story of persistence continues to inspire a growing number of African-American women taking leadership roles in business, politics, philanthropy, and other industries.

To learn more about the National Trust’s commitment to expand America’s view of history and bring attention to centuries of African-American activism and achievement, please visit: www.savingplaces.org/african-american-cultural-heritage

Morgan State University in Baltimore Designated a National Treasure

Morgan State University (photo via wikiwand.com)
Morgan State University (photo via wikiwand.com)

article by Carrie Wells via baltimoresun.com

Morgan State University was named a National Treasure by the National Trust for Historic Preservation on Tuesday, a designation given to only one other historically black college in the country.

The designation will mean Morgan and the National Trust will partner to develop a road map for preserving the university’s historic buildings, which mostly are a mix of Collegiate Revival and Brutalist architectural styles.

That road map will later be used as a template for preserving historic buildings on historically black college campuses across the country, said Dale Green, a professor of architecture and historic preservation at Morgan who is working with the National Trust.

“They have significant rich legacies that most people are unaware of,” Green said. “They’re more than black schools. … They are the only institutions that never barred other races. They very much reflect the American story.” Continue reading “Morgan State University in Baltimore Designated a National Treasure”

Home of Civil Rights Pioneer Pauli Murray Designated a “National Treasure”

Civil Rights Pioneer Pauli Murray (Photo via thegrio.com)
Civil Rights Pioneer Pauli Murray (Photo via thegrio.com)

The National Trust for Historical Preservation has designated the childhood home of Pauli Murray in Durham, North Carolina, a “National Treasure.”

A native of Baltimore, Pauli Murray was orphaned at age 13. She went to Durham, North Carolina to live with an aunt. After graduating from high school at the age of 16, she enrolled in Hunter College in New York City. She was forced to drop out of school at the onset of the Great Depression. In 1938, she mounted an unsuccessful legal effort to gain admission to the all-white University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In 1940, 15 years earlier than Rosa Parks, Murray was arrested for refusing to sit in the back of a bus in Virginia.

PMC-House-SignMurray enrolled at the Howard University in 1941 and earned her degree in 1944. She later graduated from the Boalt Hall Law School at the University of California at Berkeley. She became a leader of the civil rights movement and was critical of its leadership for not including more women in their ranks.

The Pauli Murray Project at Duke University has been working to restore the home and the federal designation may help secure additional funds for this purpose. The group hopes to make the home into a museum.

In 1977, Murray, at the age of 66, was ordained a priest of the Episcopal Church. She died in Pittsburgh in 1985.

article via jbhe.com