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Howard H. Mackey Sr., FAIA


Washington, D.C.


Architecture eduction, professional outreach

A noted architect and educator, Howard H. Mackey, FAIA, was honored with the Whitney Young Award for his five decades of influential work at Howard University’s architecture school.


Born in Philadelphia in 1901, Mackey earned an undergraduate and a master’s degree in architecture from the University of Pennsylvania. In 1924, when few African Americans held degrees in architecture, Mackey joined the architecture faculty at Howard University.


Weathering the Great Depression and Howard’s near-closure of building science programs, Mackey was appointed head of the school’s architecture department in 1937. He led the program into national accreditation by 1950, making the university the first historically black school in the U.S. with a fully recognized architectural program. During his tenure, Mackey grew the department from three students in 1924 to more than 300 by 1970. After a sabbatical working as a planning consultant in South America, he returned to Howard to establish a program that prepared students for architectural work in the tropics.


In 1962, Mackey became the second African American architect—after Paul R. Williams, FAIA, in 1957—to be elected to the AIA College of Fellows. In 1980, Mackey was awarded an honorary doctorate from Howard University.

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