In the late ‘50s through mid ‘60s, African-American architects in New York City were united under the Council for the Advancement of the Negro in Architecture (“CANA”). When this organization disbanded, a vacuum for influence and opportunity was created, leading a younger group of Black architects to unite and create a stronger voice through a newly organized structure. In 1970, fifteen Black architects, including principals and others representing Black firms, gathered to establish the New York Coalition of Black Architects (“NYCOBA“).
The original member firms of NYCOBA included:
● DOMAN & ASSOCIATES New York, NY
● GARRISON McNEIL ARCHITECT New York, NY
● GITTENS & INCE Brooklyn, NY
● LeGENDRE & ASSOCIATES New York, NY
● LEWIS & TURNER PARTNERSHIP New York, NY
● SIMMONS ARCHITECTS Brooklyn, NY
● L.E. TUCKETT & THOMPSON New York, NY
● JAMES L. ROBINSON, P.C. New York, NY
● ROBERT L. WILSON, AIA Stamford, CT and New York, NY
● IFILL & JOHNSON ARCHITECTS New York, NY
● BOND RYDER ARCHITECTS New York, NY
FOUNDING MEMBERS OF NYCOBA/NOMA
The group of 15 architects targeted private and semi-private work as well as city, state and federal projects for which they felt they had no opportunities to compete. They emphasized the critical issue that African-American architects did very little work for agencies such as the NYC Health and Hospitals Corporation, the Public Works Department, the Federal Government’s General Services Administration and the U.S. Post Office Department. At the first meeting, the founders discussed strategies for researching and presenting the facts related to the under-utilization of African-American architects and for determining the direction for the organization in combating the discriminatory practices which were more prevalent in the profession at the time. It was also decided in the first organizing meeting that key African-American politicians of the time (Percy Sutton, Bernard Jackson, Charles Rangel and Shirley Chisholm) should be approached for their support. In 1992, NYCOBA was granted a charter and became a chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architects (“NOMA”).