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Thu, 05.08.1879

Moses McKissack, Architect born

Moses McKissack, III,

*Moses McKissack, III, was born on this date in 1879. He was a Black architect.

He was born in Pulaski, Tennessee, to Moses II and Dolly Ann McKissack. Early on, the young Moses McKissack worked with his father's building, carpentry, and contracting business, a longstanding family tradition. By 1890 he was already apprenticing with James Porter and remained with Porter for five years, learning how to make construction drawings. By 1896 he had moved to the Vale Rolling and Riverburg Mills, where he prepared shop drawings for B. F. McGrew and Pitman & Peterson.

In 1905, he received a commission to build a new house for the dean of architecture and engineering at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. In 1905 he established his own architect-builder office in Nashville, TN, where he would be joined in 1922 by his brother Calvin, who had earned his Certificate in Architecture from the International Correspondence School in Scranton, PA.

In his early years as an independent architect, Moses McKissack produced many designs for residences for Vanderbilt University faculty and a large commission for the Carnegie Library for Fisk University (1908). With the addition of his brother to the office, the firm undertook a more general practice: residences, churches, public schools, and public housing. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt appointed McKissack to the White House Conference on Housing Problems. In 1942, the McKissack won a $5.7 million U.S. federal government contract to design and build Tuskegee Army Airfield.

Moses McKissack died on December 12, 1952. As of 1975, McKissack & McKissack had completed over 3,000 building projects, including about 2,000 churches.

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