Today in Black HERstory: Norma Merrick Sklarek
Today's Black HERstory focuses on the first African-American woman registered architect in New York and California, Norma Merrick Sklarek. Born April 15, 1926 in Harlem, Sklarek was also the first Black woman to be elected to the prestigious Fellow of the American Institute of Architects (FAIA).
Being both a woman and an African-American, Sklarek was able to empathize with the struggles of many coming up after her, and was an amazing mentor. She never excused racism and sexism but gave others the strength to deal with adversities. Architect Roberta Washington has called Sklarek "the reigning mother hen to us all." Others have called her "The Rosa Parks of Architecture."
Sklarek said of her mentorship role, "In architecture, I had absolutely no role model. I'm happy today to be a role model for others that follow."
She passed away February 6th, 2012 in Los Angeles. She would've been 93.