NEWSLETTER SIGNUP

By signing up to our newsletter, you agree to our terms.

See More

Julian Francis Abele's architectural drawings

Julian Francis Abele designed many iconic buildings, most notably in Philadelphia and at Duke University.  Here are two galleries showcasing his architectural drawings:

Charles Barkley's
Black History Month All Stars

All Star #9: Julian Francis Abele

I speak at a lot of schools across the country, and I’ve encountered a trend that drives me freakin’ nuts. I always ask students the following question:

“How many of you want to be a professional athlete or a rapper?”

At inner-city, mostly African American schools, nearly every hand shoots up. When I ask the same question in a white suburban school, maybe 10 percent of hands are raised. I speak to a lot of schools, and this happens without fail.

I tell black kids all the time, “You ain’t gonna be me.” Even if you’re any good on the court, the odds are stacked against you. But I can tell from the blank way they look back at me: They’re putting all their eggs in this totally unlikely basket. But I get why. Young black kids get from the media an unrealistic picture of African American success. Athletes and rappers, with Denzel and Oprah thrown in.

So to mark Black History Month here at The Citizen, I’m going to introduce you every day to my Philadelphia Black History Month All-Stars. Many of them didn’t make it into the history books or even the newspapers of their time. But their stories are inspiring and worth knowing.

09

Julian Francis Abele

Architect

Julian Francis Abele

Architect

(April 30, 1881 – April 23, 1950)

Julian Francis Abele was the first black graduate of Penn’s architecture school in 1902 and spent most of his career as chief architect of the famed firm of Horace Trumbauer. Abele is said to have designed over 400 buildings, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Free Library of Philadelphia, the Land Title Building, Harvard University’s Widener Memorial Library and much of Duke University’s campus. Still, true to the times he lived in, Abele was not credited for most of his work until after his death; he was not allowed in Penn’s dorms or cafeterias as a student; and he was not admitted into the American Institute of Architects until 1942. According to his family, Abele refused to visit the buildings he designed at Duke because “he did not wish to experience the harsh segregated ‘Jim Crow’ laws of the South.”

EDUCATION:

  • University of Pennsylvania B.A. in Architecture, 1902
  • Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Certificate of Completion in Architectural Design 1903
  • École des Beaux-Arts (Abele is said by his descendants to have attended the French university, although there is no record of his enrollment)

 

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:

  • First African American student to graduate from the Department of Architecture at the University of Pennsylvania
  • Chief designer of 400 buildings, including Philadelphia Museum of Art
  • Known for being immaculately dressed—even wearing a suit while on the boardwalk
  • In 1989, a painting of Abele in the Duke University administration building was the first African American portrait at the school

 

FINAL WORD:

Abele famously noted his role in Trumbauer’s designs by saying, “the lines are all Mr. Trumbauer’s, but the shadows are all mine”—a statement that may have been as much about the role his race played in his work as it did about the architecture.

Recent Tweets
@THEPHILACITIZEN

@thephilacitizen @@thephilacitizen
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
"Mariner East may not be the result of a vast conspiracy or individual wrongdoing, but the reality is just as troub… https://t.co/EOcTTCRIA1 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
"Deep in the recent jobs report number doled out by the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, is a glimpse of what th… https://t.co/Xbj9KeXFnE 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
"Getting gerrymandering bills passed has taken on new urgency since the 2016 election. It would be the only lasting… https://t.co/x8D4tj43zC 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
“For children, in terms of their behavior, discipline, and social skills, they have learned to solve their problems… https://t.co/NzUmKWTbOq 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
"Since its inception, the program has graduated over 2,000 BankWork$ students across the country, with more than 1,… https://t.co/Aah5VJl7K0 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
“I fear I may have integrated my people into a burning house.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr." @selmekki on one of M… https://t.co/tEnYWizCyO 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
"Deep in the recent jobs report number doled out by the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, is a glimpse of what th… https://t.co/QdiduhA7gy 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
"Mariner East may not be the result of a vast conspiracy or individual wrongdoing, but the reality is just as troub… https://t.co/K0Se24mxCk 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
"Getting gerrymandering bills passed has taken on new urgency since the 2016 election. It would be the only lasting… https://t.co/8sU1ZHzgvq 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
“For children, in terms of their behavior, discipline, and social skills, they have learned to solve their problems… https://t.co/T06xwIr5Tk 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
Temple's controversial stadium is a go. Do you agree with its construction in the North #Philly neighborhood? Via… https://t.co/6cu3ecrHXk 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
"Since its inception, the program has graduated over 2,000 BankWork$ students across the country, with more than 1,… https://t.co/Na7gPuafyN 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
"What this means, essentially, is that the public-safety oversight of Mariner East 2 begins once it is operational—… https://t.co/YLAPrTJw0D 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
59% polled think that @Amazon should come to Philadelphia. What do you think? #AmazonHQ2 #PhillyDelivers @Amazonhttps://t.co/2XeDG8vcwn 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
"With some 35,000 Philly students with asthma, it is the most common reason for chronic absenteeism here and around… https://t.co/4yWXHG10Oi 

LOAD MORE

Be a Citizen Editor

Suggest a Story