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A Word From - Leon Bridges

Preface: During this unprecedented time of a once in a generation pandemic, economic recession, and civil rights movement happening in concert Bmore NOMA looks to its members to share short stories on how they are personally managing these unique moments in history.

Since I have retired from my architectural practice and then from teaching at Morgan University in 2019, especially during this Pandemic I am doing a lot of reading and becoming more engaged with my wife, Eloise, and watching television. It is amazing how Covid-19 has made us more aware of and interested in one another. The TV programs I most enjoy are sports of all kinds, Rachel Maddow and Laurence O'Donnell, Wheel of Fortune and America's Got Talent. My latest reads are "The Fire Next Time" by James Baldwin and "Begin Again" by Eddie S. Glaude; the latter book is a review of the former essay.

It is also amazing how much extra time I seem to have available. However, I am also trying to complete two small architectural projects. I remain available for advice to former students and rising registered architects regarding professional practice, and if there is any desire I would be willing to do one or two sessions to those who are considering entering into private practice. 

I remain very much concerned with the lack of start-up by persons of color and also the demise of firms led by persons of color. There are so many benefits and great opportunities to owning ones own firm, although they only come with diligence and persistence. Our young graduates can get stuck into firms where there is little chance for advancement into an ownership position and the resultant rewards. That being said, there are some who have stayed with firms for a long while and have achieved relative success. So, there is no one answer. Still, I wish that there were more of "us" owning firms and showing "our" public and the public in general that we, too, can be excellent architects.

After been a practicing architect for over 58 years, this past July, I still feel that I have something to offer. Most people are unaware and I am most proud that I was the first Black architect to have received a national award (Citation for Excellence in Community Architecture) from the American Institute of Architects, April 1972.

Leon Bridges

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