Wallace Rayfield

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Wallace Augustus Rayfield (born Macon, Georgia around May 10, 1874 – February 28, 1941) was the second formally educated practicing African American architect in the United States.


Rayfield attended schools in Macon, Georgia before moving to Washington, D.C. after the death of his mother. He was an apprentice at an architectural firm while attending Howard University. He then completed a graduate certificate from Pratt Institute before earning his bachelor's degree in architecture from Columbia University in 1899.[1] Upon graduation, he was recruited by Booker T. Washington to the Directorship of the Architectural and Mechanical Drawing Department at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. In 1907, Rayfield opened a professional office in Tuskegee from which he sold mail-order plans nationwide. He also advertised "branch offices" in Birmingham, Montgomery, Mobile and Talladega, Alabama and Atlanta, Savannah, Macon and Augusta, Georgia.

He left Tuskegee Institute and moved to Birmingham in 1908 to focus on his young practice. He was elected as Superintending Architect for the Freedman's Aid Society and Connectional Architect of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church.

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See also[edit]


  • Hamilton, G. P. (1911) "W. A. Rayfield, B. S., Birmingham, Ala." in Beacon Lights of the Race. Memphis, E. H. Clarke & Brother, pp. 451–7
  • Brown, Charles A. (1972) W. A. Rayfield: Pioneer Black Architect of Birmingham, Ala. Birmingham: Gray Printing Company
  • McKenzie, Vinson. (Fall 1993) "A Pioneering African-American Architect in Alabama: Wallace A. Rayfield, 1874–1941." Journal of the Interfaith Forum on Religion, Art & Architecture. Vol. 13
  • Durough, Allan R. (2010) The Architectural Legacy of Wallace A. Rayfield: Pioneer Black Architect of Birmingham, Alabama. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press ISBN 978-0-8173-1683-9
  • Ward, Logan (January/February 2011) "Rediscovering Mr. Rayfield: The legacy of a pioneering African American architect is being restored by an indefatigable Southern Baptist preacher" Preservation Magazine at the Wayback Machine (archived August 28, 2012)

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