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Remembering Amaza Lee Meredith, An African American Architect, Educator And Artist

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Amaza Lee Meredith was a black architect, educator, and artist. Meredith was unable to enter the architectural profession due to “both her race and her sex,” and instead worked as an art teacher at Virginia State College, where she founded the Art Department.

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Meredith was born in the Virginia town of Lynchburg. Samuel Peter Meredith, her father, was white and a master stair builder. Emma Kennedy, her mother, was black. Under Virginia’s anti-miscegenation laws, her parents were not permitted to marry. Her parents eventually traveled to Washington, D.C. to marry. Soon after their marriage, her father’s business began to suffer “apparently as a result of the marriage,” and he committed suicide in 1915.

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Meredith began teaching in a one-room schoolhouse in Indian Rock after graduating from high school. She later returned to Lynchburg to teach elementary school before returning to college. She enrolled at Virginia State Normal and Industrial Institute in 1922 and later taught at Dunbar High School for six years. She moved to Brooklyn, New York, in 1926, to attend Columbia University’s Teacher’s College.

 

She retired from teaching in 1958. Throughout the 1960s, she continued to design buildings and paint. Meredith created logos for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s proposed name change in the 1970s. Meredith died in 1984 and is buried alongside Edna Meade Colson in Petersburg, Virginia’s Eastview Cemetery.

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Written by How Africa News

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