- NAME: Norma Sklarek
- OCCUPATION: Architect
- BIRTH DATE: April 15, 1928
- DEATH DATE: February 06, 2012
- Did You Know?: Norma Sklarek became the first licensed African-American female architect in 1954, and later became the first black female fellow of the American Institute of Architects.
- Did You Know?: Norma Sklarek was the first African-American woman to establish and manage an architectural firm—Siegel, Sklarek, Diamond.
- EDUCATION: Hunter High, Columbia University, Barnard College
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Harlem, New York
- PLACE OF DEATH: Los Angeles, California
- Full Name: Norma Merrick Sklarek
- Maiden Name: Norma Sklarek
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Sklarek made history yet again in 1985, when she teamed up with fellow architects Margot Siegal and Katherine Diamond to form one of the largest female-owned architectural firms in the country—Siegel, Sklarek, Diamond—becoming the first African-American woman to establish and manage an architectural firm.
Much has changed since Sklarek first started working. Of the nearly 250,000 working architects in the U.S., nearly 10,000 of them are African-American. For obvious reasons, Sklarek has helped foster that change both as an example, and through her own direct efforts to make a difference.
In addition to teaching several graduate courses at colleges such as UCLA, Columbia and Arizona State University, she's authored several pieces, including "Women in Architecture" for the Encyclopedia of Architecture & Construction. Sklarek also chaired the AIA National Ethics Council.
Her work has not gone unnoticed. Howard University has an architecture scholarship in her name, and in 2008 Sklarek was honored with the Whitney Young Jr. Award at the AIA National Convention in Boston. The recognition is given to one architect annually who best exemplifies "the profession's responsibility toward current social issues."
Sklarek was married to Cornelius Welch, with whom she had three children. She died of heart failure on February 6, 2012, in Los Angeles, California. Her legacy as the first licensed African-American architect still remains.
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