Black history is American history and by failing to remember the good and the bad, future generations lose momentum…
Mr. Robert Robinson Taylor’s name may not ring a bell, but the impact of his life is being felt in universities throughout the south. Born in Wilmington, NC in 1868, Taylor was the first accredited Black architecture and the first Black graduate of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT, in 1888. As an architect, Taylor designed many of the buildings at Tuskegee University prior to 1932. In addition, he designed buildings for Livingstone College in North Carolina and Selma University in Selma, Alabama. He also was vice president of Tuskegee and worked very closely with Booker T. Washington who had been something of a mentor to him since his days at MIT. Upon his retirement in 1932, he returned to his native Wilmington, NC. He was appointed as a board of trustee to what is now known as Fayetteville State University. In 1942, he died while visiting Tuskegee and is buried in NC. He is also the great grandfather of Valerie Jarrett who was a Senior Adviser to President Barack Obama. From MIT grad, architecture, university vice president and board of trustee, Mr. Taylor, as my father would say, “died empty” reminding all of us to do as much good as you can, while you can, and when you can!