The Negro Building Remembrance Competition invites architects, landscape architects, artists, playwrights, poets, musicians and writers from every discipline, as individuals, teams, students or professionals, to propose imaginative ways to commemorate the Negro Building, the forgotten civil rights landmark of the 1985 Cotton States and International Exposition in Atlanta, Georgia.

Generations before Rosa Parks kept her seat, before Bloody Sunday on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, and before the sit-ins and hoses and the long march to Washington, Atlanta, Georgia, sat at the cusp between post-Civil War Reconstruction and the struggle for civil rights in the South and all of America. 

The Year:         

1895. Just thirty years after the end of slavery in the U.S. 

The Setting:         

The Cotton States and International Exposition. Later to become Atlanta’s Piedmont Park. 

The Event:    

Booker T. Washington’s Speech on Opening Day Later to be labeled the “Atlanta Compromise.” 

The Place:       

The Negro Building. Atlanta’s forgotten civil rights landmark. 

 The Negro Building, one of the pavilions at the Cotton States and International Exposition in Atlanta, marked the first time southern, national and global audiences, both black and white, witnessed the work and progress of African Americans, in their own building, since Emancipation only 30 years before.  

Many people, both black and white, believed Booker T. Washington’s speech, delivered on opening day of the Cotton States Exposition, had resolved the so-called “Negro Problem,” with his pragmatic statement: “separate as the fingers but one as the hand in all things.” This was the proof that the New South was a progressive region free from slavery and oppression. Countering the national praise for Washington’s speech were the black press and clergymen, who argued that the speech was accommodating to continued white supremacy, and the rise of Jim Crow. 

But it was the Negro Building and its exhibits, speeches, and conferences during the Cotton States Exposition that stimulated debates that began, what Mabel O. Wilson, author of Negro Building: Black Americans in the World of Fairs and Museums, calls a “black counterpublic.” Although the Cotton States Exposition and the Negro Building existed only for three months in the fall of 1895, the building and this  “black counter-public” that surrounded it, form the early beginnings of America’s civil rights struggles.  

Booker T. Washington’s “Atlanta Compromise” speech, well known as one of the most important and controversial speeches in American history, overshadowed the events that took place in and around the Negro Building during the fall of 1895. If Washington’s speech was to solve the post-slavery “Negro Problem,” then Southern business leaders, politicians and newspapermen could ignore the Negro Building. And they did. If the Cotton States and International Exposition set the stage for the emergence of a “New South,” then the Negro Building  could be forgotten. And it was. When the site of the Exposition became Piedmont Park, to become Atlanta’s most important public space, the Negro Building and its site was erased from memory. Today, a few historians and some friends of Piedmont Park remember the Negro Building, but even most of them do not know its location in Piedmont Park

It is time to commemorate the Negro Building as an important part of the long struggles for civil rights in Atlanta and in America. The time is now. 

The Negro Building Remembrance Competition aims to do just that -- to bring the Negro Building into public memory in bold, imaginative and provocative ways.  The Competition is looking for ideas from diverse disciplines, media and sources of of inspiration. As competitors craft their proposals, they should consider the former site of the Negro Building, the building itself, its exhibits and conferences, the historical context of Atlanta and the South, and the struggles for civil and human rights in America. 

The Competition Organizers pose these questions, which they hope will stimulate the imaginations of competitors: 

  • Should the proposal mark the site in some physical way as a reminder of the building and the events that surrounded it? Or, because the building stood for such a short time, might it be remembered in another way or even in another location? 
  • Might the public memory of the Negro Building be best accomplished with a pictorial or sculptural image that recalls or represents the building and its events? Or might it be best represented by a text, such as a poem or a play?
  • Must the commemorative proposal be permanent, as a monument, memorial or plaque? Or should commemoration be temporary, such as a performance or event, which might be filmed or photographed to preserve it?
  • Should the proposal be only commemorative? Or could it also serve other purposes and functions in Piedmont Park or elsewhere? 

The tab  “INFORMATION” contains several essays about the Negro Building to aid in understanding its significance. 

The tab “SITE”  has information about the Negro Building site as it existed during the Cotton States Exposition and as it exists today. 

The tab “SCHEDULE” sets out the schedule and deadlines for the competition. 

The tab “ENTER” is the place to find how to register for the competition and to upload the submissions to the competition. 

The tab “IMAGE GALLERY” has an assortment images about the building, the events inside it, and the Cotton States Exposition. 

The tab “CONTACT” is the place for emailing questions to the competition organizers and other contact information with Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. 

The Atlanta Negro Building Remembrance Competition will be conducted according to the AIA Handbook of Architectural Design Competitions, as adapted for an open, multi-disciplinary, ideas competition.


The National Center for Civil and Human Rights 

The National Organization of Minority Architects

The School of Architecture, Georgia Institute of Technology

We welcome additional sponsors for the competition, please contact the Competition Organizers for information.


The Competition jury will award up to three First Prizes of at least $1000 each. This recognizes, and hopes to stimulate, a broad diversity of ideas and media for the proposals. Second and Third Prizes will be $500 and $250 at the discretion of the Jury.  In addition, a broad selection of entries will receive Honorable Mention. 

Prize Winners, Honorable Mentions and other notable proposals will be exhibited in Stubbins Gallery at the College of Architecture, Georgia Tech, opening Spring 2016. The exhibition will move to other locations in Atlanta and will be available to travel nationally Fall 2016.  The Exhibition will also include the histories of the Negro Building, the Cotton States Exhibition, and Atlanta during the era of the Exposition, and Piedmont Park. It will also present comments from the jury and other information related to the competition. All Competition entries will be included in an online gallery with the names and locations of all competitors.

The Competition Organizers will seek to publish the results of the Competition in a variety of media oriented toward both public and academic audiences. This may include publication in a book of essays. 


As an ideas competition, The Negro Building Remembrance Competition is not seeking, at this time, to implement any of the submissions, whether a monument or memorial, a site intervention, or commissions for paintings, videos or performance pieces. 

However, the Competition Organizers and the Negro Building Remembrance Competition, Inc., the non-profit sponsor, will explore such possibilities after the completion of the Competition. Any such opportunities will depend upon additional funding and the necessary approvals. 


Mabel Wilson


Craig Evan Barton

Craig Barton is an architect and currently Director of the Design School at Arizona State University in Phoenix and formerly Chair of the Department of Architecture and Landscape Architecture at the University of Virginia. Through his practice, research, and teaching Professor Barton investigates issues of cultural and historical preservation and their interpretation through architecture and urban design. Much of his professional practice focuses on assisting African-American communities to preserve and interpret their significant cultural resources and to utilize them to stimulate community development. He is editor of the anthology, Sites of Memory: Perspectives on Architecture and Race and has contributed to range of anthologies including the City of Memory, Row: Trajectories Through the Shotgun House and the recently published Writing Urbanism. His work has been included in a wide range of exhibitions including an installation at Project Rowhouse in Houston, TX and a recent exhibition at the University of Pennsylvania of his work in the group show, The Dresser Trunk Project. 


An announcement of the interdisciplinary jury is forthcoming. 


Entry into this Competition is open to anyone, from any place and from any discipline. Submission text must be in English. Entrants must confirm that the submitted material is their own original or collaborative work, does not infringe upon any copyright law, and that they do indeed have permission to publish the material.

The entry fee is $50 per submission for professionals and all non-students whether by individual or team. The entry fee is $25 per submission for students or student teams with proof of student status, either in secondary, post-secondary schools, colleges or universities. Entrants are free to submit multiple entries but each must complete a separate registration and submit an additional entry fee. 

The fees go to The Negro Building Remembrance Competition, Inc. a nonprofit corporation, and will only be used toward the expenses of the Negro Building Competition. 

All individuals or teams must have registered, paid the required fee, and submitted the required materials by November 1, 2015, midnight EST.


General Requirements

Entering the competition requires two steps.

1. Registration and payment of the entry fee. This will provide each entrant a confidential 5 digit entry code.

2. Completion of submission form upon which entrants will receive a password to be used for uploading the materials.

Go to the ENTER tab to complete the registration and then upload the submission files. 

Statement Text

A text statement of 500 words maximum, in English, is required. This text should explain the competitor’s conceptual approach to the idea of commemoration and the specific proposal for the Negro Building. This statement must be attached as a PDF file with the  Entry Form. Winning entrants – prizes and honorable mentions – will be required to re-submit their text statements, with editorial revisions as needed, as MS Word files to enable formatting for publication and exhibition purposes. 

Graphic or Video

All submissions must be delivered in one of two ways:

Graphic Submissions: A single file with a single 24" × 36" image (vertical orientation only; JPG or PDF format only; 10 MB maximum file size. Layouts may range from a single image, to a composed text, to a conventional architectural competition board with multiple images embedded in the single large image.  Winning entrants – prizes and honorable mentions - will be required to re-submit their work in original, high-resolution format (300 dpi or greater) for publication and exhibition purposes. 

Video Submissions: A short video of no more than 3 minutes in length. If submitting a video, it must be uploaded to YouTube or Vimeo with the address submitted on the Entry Form.  Winning entrants – prizes and honorable mentions – will be required to submit their video as high resolution downloads for the exhibition and publication. 

No format will be given preference over any other. Originality is encouraged. Images may be reduced in resolution or compressed to meet file size limitations, but must be submitted in the required formats (no zip files). All submissions will be judged in their on-screen format. 


The submissions will be judged by the Jurors anonymously and the entrant’s name or identity in any form may not appear anywhere on the graphic submission, video or the text statement. Each competitor will be assigned an entry number. This number must be visible on top left of the text submission, the top left of the 24”x36” graphic, and title frames of the video. 

Authorship & Copyright

Entrants acknowledge that the Competition Organizers and the Negro Building Remembrance Competition, Inc. may exhibit all entries in the online gallery, and a selection of entries may be chosen for physical exhibition, public display and publication, either in book or website formats. The Competition Organizers and the Negro Building Remembrance Competition, Inc. will make every effort to notify entrants of any public exhibitions or publication of their work through correspondence with the registered or updated contact information.

By submitting an entry, entrants grant the Competition Organizers and the Negro Building Remembrance Competition, Inc. unrestricted license to exercise the entrants’ intellectual property rights regarding their submissions, including, but not limited to, reproduction, preparation of derivative works, distribution of copies of the design submission, and the right to authorize such use by others.

It is the author’s responsibility to supply accurate information for the credits and captions in their submissions to comply with copyright regulations. If necessary, contact the appropriate photographers, artists, or others who may hold copyright protections in order to secure publication rights. 


Douglas C. Allen (1947-2014), FASLA, was Professor of Architecture in the College of Architecture at Georgia Tech, where he also served as Associate Dean and Interim Dean. An observer of cities and a native of Atlanta, he was one of the few people who understood the complex relationships among 19th Century Atlanta, the Cotton States Exposition, Booker T. Washington, the Negro Building, and Piedmont Park. It was his knowledge and interests in how historical events are brought visibly into public memory that inspired the Negro Building Remembrance Competition. 

Michael R. Allen is the Director of the Preservation Research Office, a St. Louis-based collaborative. He served as the manager of Pruitt-Igoe Now, an international design competition for the commemoration and site re-use of the former Pruitt-Igoe public housing project in St. Louis. The competition web site and the winning entries may be found at

Dr. Michael Scott Bieze is an art historian and Chairman of the Fine Arts Department at the Marist School in Atlanta.  He holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Arizona State University's Herberger College of the Arts, a Master of Arts degree from the University of Washington, and a Ph.D from Georgia State University.  He is the author of two books: Booker T. Washington and the Art of Self-Representation and Booker T Washington: Rediscovered.

Dr. Richard Dozier is the former head of Tuskegee’s Department of Architecture, fellow of the Dubois Institute at Harvard University, and long time teacher of architecture and preservation at FAMU, Morgan State and Yale University. He has conducted pioneering research on black architects and African American culture and is a frequent exhibitor, lecturer, and consultant. Dr. Dozier received his Master of Architecture at Yale and PhD at the University of Michigan.

Oscar Harris, FAIA, founded and led Turner Associates, a leading architectural and planning firm for 30 years, winning numerous awards for buildings in Atlanta and across the U.S. He is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, where he continues to serve as a University Trustee. In 2004 Harris created the Atlanta STUDIO for Creative Inquiry that introduces high school students to architecture and design through presentations by industry professionals, college professors and students, as well as studio tours and hands-on exercises.

Sharon Foster Jones, a former attorney and Atlanta historian, is author of Atlanta's Ponce de Leon Avenue: A History and Images of America: The Atlanta Exposition. Her books include extensive historical photography detailing important historical events and places in Atlanta. Her book on the Atlanta Cotton States and International Exposition includes many images of the Negro Building and is an important resource for the history of the Exposition. 

Linda Kenney Miller is the granddaughter of John A. Kenney, M.D, former president of the National Medical Association, and private physician to Booker T. Washington.  Her book, Beacon on the Hill, explores the life of Dr. Kenney and the historical events of the era. It won the 2008 Best Book Award for Historical Fiction by USA Book News. Miller was a 2009 Georgia Writers Association nominee for Author of the Year in Fiction.

Ivanue Love-Stanley and William J. Stanley, III, FAIA are co-founders of Stanley Love-Stanley, Architects, in Atlanta.  They are the first male and female graduates of the College of Architecture at Georgia Tech and among the first and youngest registered architects in the South. Both have received the Whitney M. Young, Jr. Citations from the American Institute of Architects - William in 1995 and Ivanue in 2014. Their firm has won numerous awards for their work in Atlanta, across the United States and Africa. 

Jihan Sherman is a design consultant and visual artist. She holds a Masters of Architecture and BS in Architecture from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Her research and creative explorations examine the inter-relationships of identity, place and narrative. She has taught design studios and urban design workshops at Georgia Tech, focusing on fundamental design principles, parametric form generation, material exploration, urban form and community.



Competition Manager: Annabella Jean-Laurent is a freelance writer who explores race, gender and culture within society. Her interest in black history in Atlanta led her to the Atlanta Negro Building and the idea for the competition. She is the author of the extended essay on the Negro Building and has presented the history and significance of the Negro Building at academic conferences and has written about the building in the Atlanta Magazine and 

Academic Advisor: Richard Dagenhart serves as Interim Chair of the School of Architecture at Georgia Tech. He teaches architecture and urban design in the School of Architecture and School of City and Regional Planning, where he leads collaborative design studios in Atlanta, the Southeast and abroad. Dagenhart is an active participant in urban design public education with the Georgia Conservancy program Good Urbanism 101.  Dagenhart’s teaching and practice has been recognized by numerous awards and in national and international design competitions. 

Professional Advisor: Herman H. Howard is the Atlanta Director of KAI, Architects. He holds a Master of Architecture in Building Design from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture from the University of Southern California. He currently serves as adjunct professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology’s School of Architecture where he teaches architecture and urban design studios, collaborating with the City of Atlanta and a variety of non-profit organizations. He serves as the Academic Advisor for the National Organization of Minority Architecture Students. 


The Negro Building Remembrance Competition is a project of the Negro Building Remembrance Competition, Inc., a non-profit corporation, registered in the State of Georgia.