Duke University to Further Honor the Black Man Who Designed Much of Its Campus

Julian AbeleIn December, a JBHE post noted that Duke University was contemplating how to best honor the memory of Julian Abele. A Philadelphia-based architect, Abele designed many of the Gothic buildings on the campus of Duke University.

But because of his race, the university did not originally celebrate the architect of many of its most important structures. Abele died in 1950 having never visited the Duke campus where he had played such an important role. Abele’s role in designing the Duke campus did not become widely known until 1988. That year the university hung a portrait of Adele in the main administration building and another portrait was placed in the Rubenstein Library.

But now the university has announced that the main quadrangle with the university’s initial academic and residential buildings will be named Abele Quad. A plaque will be placed at the center of the Quad. In addition, a plaque honoring Abele will be placed in Duke Chapel. The university also announced that it will purchase the rights to the mural “Shadow and Light (for Julian Francis Abele).” The mural will become part of the permanent collection at Duke’s Nasher Museum of Art.

A video exploring Abele’s contributions to Duke University can be seen below.

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Comments (2)

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  1. Dr. Hakim Shahid says:

    It is never too late to correct a past wrong. It is great to hear that Duke University is honoring this important man and his contributions to their history.

  2. caribbean queen says:

    the university should be deeply EMBARRASSED and ASHAMED of how long this took!

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