Commemorating the Life of Alumnus and Former Operating Dean Jerome W. Lindsey

Alumnus and former Operating Dean Jerome W. Lindsey, Jr. passed away on New Year’s Day. Lindsey leaves behind a legacy of community engagement and activism, passionate learning and teaching, and paving the way for black architects and planners.

Born in 1932 in Phenix City, Alabama and raised in Columbus, Georgia, Lindsey was determined to make his parents proud. Obtaining a Bachelor of Architecture from Howard University in 1955, Lindsey went on to obtain two master’s degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) – a Master of Architecture (1960) and a Master of City Planning (1961).

Lindsey made newspaper headlines during his time as the “Columbus Negro” who was promoted from Professor to Associate Dean of the School of Design at Harvard University (1970) and recommended for the position of State Planning Director of Florida. His passion was in teaching and advancing his fellow black architects and planners by creating more opportunities for them. His vast practice experience included positions with the United Planning Organization, Urban Design Associates, and the Providence Redevelopment Agency as well as several private architecture and planning firms in Cambridge, MA, New York, NY, and Washington, D.C. He also established his own firm in 1961 to “solve environmental problems particularly for neighborhoods of low and moderate incomes.”

His professional activities caught the attention of other news outlets such as Jet Magazine and Ebony Magazine. Lindsey was featured in the June 1968 edition of Ebony Magazine as one of the country’s “Most Eligible Bachelors”!

Lindsey was a visiting critic in architecture at both Harvard University (1969) and Yale University (1967-68). These teaching positions coincided with Lindsey’s appointment as an Associate Professor of Architecture and City Planning at Howard University (1962-1968). During his early tenure at Howard, he was credited with establishing the graduate program in city and regional planning and later the Department of Planning (in previous structure). His widow, Stephanie Colquitt-Lindsey fondly recalls his stories of jumping on the train between universities – living his dream. He officially retired from teaching at Howard University in 1997 after 35 years, also serving as the initial Operating Dean of the newly established School of Architecture and Planning from 1970 to 1979.

Lindsey met with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. several times when he worked as a community activist and planner in Washington, D.C. He is quoted in Technology and the Dream: Reflections on the Black Experience at MIT, 1941-1999 by Clarence G. Williams on his community work, as he created opportunities for black architectural firms:

So I started working here in Washington as a community planner and activist, raising all sorts of Cain, talking about how things had to be better here. It was invigorating. I also knew a lot about architecture, and I was shocked that in a city like Washington – with probably one of the highest concentrations of educated and professional blacks – there was a limit on what could be done.

We offer our deepest condolences to Jerome W. Lindsey’s family and our sincerest gratitude for his lasting contributions to the Howard University community. We will continue forward with his legacy.

Rest in peace.

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