In 2013, the Atlanta Chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) hosted a year-long celebration of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. During the celebration, NOMA Atlanta hosted a series of events entitled “50 Years of Diversity in Atlanta’s AEC Community; Celebrating our Trailblazers of Change,” acknowledging the impact of these trailblazers and 50 years of diversity in Atlanta’s architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industries. The fact is many of Atlanta’s iconic buildings and transformative projects have been managed, designed, engineered and constructed by minority trailblazers who overcame extreme challenges in the era of civil rights. Also as part of that celebration, the chapter launched the NOMAtlanta StoryCorps Initiative in partnership with StoryCorps Atlanta and started conducting audio interviews of our trailblazers at the Atlanta History Center. The initiative aimed to capture the stories of inspiration and success of some of the most prominent minorities in the Atlanta AEC community. These stories served to educate and inspire the next generation of AEC professionals. As a result of a very successful celebration and initiative, NOMAtlanta will like to introduce a first-ever collection of these prominent minority AEC trailblazer stories in a special audiovisual experience entitled “In Their Words: Inspirational Stories of Atlanta’s Minority AEC Trailblazers.”
The Atlanta AEC Trailblazers in this exhibit have all played significant roles in the development and progress of Atlanta’s built environment from the Martin Luther King Jr. Historic District to 1996 Summer Olympic Games to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport to the new Atlanta Falcons stadium and many more. The exhibit highlights the amazing accomplishments of our trailblazers and their significant contributions to the City of Atlanta as they overcame a host of barriers that included racial, cultural and gender discrimination to become passionate and vocal champions for diversity and inclusion. Our Atlanta AEC Trailblazers share personal stories of the impact of the Civil Rights Movement from the last 50 years on their own lives and professional practice as well as valuable lessons learned for the next generation of Atlanta’s minority AEC professionals as they prepare to be trailblazers in their own right. NOMAtlanta encourages you to listen to all of our trailblazer interviews and hear them tell their stories “in their words”.
The main exhibit consists of seven seven-foot vinyl panels highlighting each Atlanta AEC Trailblazer’s story and accomplishments. Each panel includes trailblazer story, photos, accomplishments as well as QR code that takes visitors to the audio interviews to hear the stories in the trailblazer’s own words. NOMA Atlanta produced and placed full-length interviews along with themed segments on the NOMA Atlanta Trailblazers of Change webpage which visitors can access on the NOMA Atlanta website. All stories were produced by NOMA Atlanta, with interviews recorded by StoryCorps, a national nonprofit whose mission is to provide Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share and preserve the stories of our lives.
About NOMA Atlanta:
The mission of NOMA Atlanta is to champion diversity within the Atlanta design professions while advocating for greater professional opportunities for its current and future members by promoting design excellence, racial diversity, community engagement and professional development. This mission is supported by goals and objectives that are framed by “N-O-M-A-in the-A”:
N – NETWORK: Foster communications and fellowships among minority architects in Atlanta metropolitan region and beyond
O – OPPORTUNITIES: Promote and seek out opportunities to partner with minority design professionals in Atlanta architecture, engineering and construction communities.
M – MENTORING: Motivate and inspire minority students and young professionals in the profession of architecture.
A – ADVOCACY: Fight discriminatory practices by public and private sector clients that unfairly restrict minority participation and work with local, state and national government agencies on issues affecting minority communities.
A – ARCHITECTURE DESIGN EXCELLENCE: Promote architectural design of the highest quality by our members and minority design professionals on local, state and national platforms.
About StoryCorps and Interviews:
StoryCorps is a national nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share and preserve the stories of our lives. Since 2003, tens of thousands of everyday people have shared life stories with family and friends through StoryCorps. Each conversation is recorded on a free CD to share. StoryCorps is one of the largest oral history projects of its kind, and millions listen to our broadcasts at storycorps.org and on NPRʼs Morning Edition. StoryCorps interviews are 40 minutes long. Copies of the interviews will be archived in the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. For African-Americans, stories will be additionally preserved in the Smithsonian Museum of African-American Culture set to open in 2015.
The Exhibit Team:
Exhibit Creator / Interviewer:
Garfield Peart, MBA, AIA, NOMA, LEED GA
Garfield L. Peart is a federal architect and program director with the Air Force Reserve. He is a licensed architect in Virginia and Georgia. Garfield is President of his own sustainable design practice, Syntony Design Collaborative LLC. He currently serves as the President of the Atlanta Chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architects and as a Commissioner on the Atlanta Urban Design Commission, among a number of other professional, non-profit and community development boards and organizations. Garfield is a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.
Exhibit Graphic Designer:
The Exhibit Committee:
Clement & Wynn Program Managers
Oscar Harris, FAIA
C.D. Moody Construction
Atlanta Center for Creative Inquiry
McAfee3 Architects, Inc.
J.W. Robinson & Associates, Inc.
Stanley Love-Stanley, P.C.
Museum of Design Atlanta