LITTLE KNOWN BLACK HISTORY: JULIAN ABELE OF DUKE UNIVERISTY
If you were asked to design a building today, would you be upset if you didn’t get the chance to see your own creation until many years later? This happened to Julian Abele who was the designer of most of the building’s on Duke University’s main campus, as well as the designer of the famous Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Julian Abele was a famous African American architect, and the chief designer in the offices of Horace Trombauer. In addition to Duke University, he also contributed the design of the Phildelphia Museum of Art.
Abele’s role in the project was not a secret, but it was not publicly recognized by the University until around 1986. Due to Jim Crow laws at the time, African Americans were not allowed to step foot on the campus of Duke University. For this reason, Abele was not able to see much of the work that he designed.
However, today there is an oil portrait of him that hangs in the main lobby of the administration building, as well as a page on Duke’s website which is devoted to the architect, who for so long was hidden in the shadow.