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First Female African American Architect Dies at 85

Norma Merrick Sklarek died last week at her Pacific Palisades home.

Family, friends and colleagues are remembering the life of Norma Merrick Sklarek, after she died at her Pacific Palisades home last Monday.

According to a Los Angeles Times report, Harlem-born Sklarek broke barriers when she became the first licensed female African American architect. Sklarek worked on Terminal 1 at the Los Angeles International Airport, as well as the American Embassy in Tokyo, said the report. However, she wasn't always assigned to high profile projects. After graduating with a degree in architecture from Columbia in 1950, employers turned down her application 19 times before landing a position with a city engineering department, according to the LA Times.

Sklarek's son, David Merrick Fairweather, told the LA Times his mother passed away due to heart failure.

  • For the complete story from the LA Times, click here.
Ricci February 14, 2012 at 04:35 AM
Learning about Ms. Sklarek's achievements in architecture despite obvious racial and gender obstacles is awe-inspiring and more than deserves recognition, especially during Black History Month...God be with you.

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