Solange Spotlights Undersung Black Architect Amaza Lee Meredith

Solange Spotlights Undersung Black Architect Amaza Lee Meredith
  • PublishedFebruary 20, 2024

Solange Knowles, the multi-talented artist renowned for her innovative music and unique design sensibilities, is stepping into a new role as a curator of history. In a recent interview for the cover of Harper’s Bazaar, the visionary singer-songwriter revealed her dedication to shedding light on the life and work of Amaza Lee Meredith, a pioneering Black architect whose legacy has been largely overlooked.

Born in 1895 in Virginia, Meredith defied societal norms and navigated significant obstacles to establish herself as a respected architect. Her contributions, particularly in designing homes in the Sag Harbor, New York area, laid the groundwork for what would later become known as the Black Hamptons. Among her notable projects are several cottages within the Azurest subdivision, which provided a sanctuary for Black leisure seekers amidst a time of pervasive racial segregation.

Solange’s interest in Meredith’s story goes beyond mere admiration; it borders on obsession. Described by writer Kaitlyn Greenidge as combing through archives and dedicating substantial time to research, Solange’s commitment underscores the urgency of preserving and amplifying the narratives of Black trailblazers like Meredith. With concerns about the loss of evidence of Black achievements due to inadequate archival efforts, Solange sees championing Meredith’s story as a crucial step in rectifying historical oversight.

In a landscape where institutions have often failed to adequately document and honor the accomplishments of minorities, Solange is taking matters into her own hands. By editing a book on Meredith’s life and work, she aims to ensure that future generations have direct access to the stories of Black pioneers. Solange’s advocacy for preservation extends beyond mere nostalgia; it represents a deliberate effort to build a tangible legacy for her community.

“[Preservation] feels like such important work right now in the present,” Solange emphasized. Her dedication to documenting and celebrating Meredith’s contributions speaks to a larger mission of reclaiming and centering Black narratives in the cultural landscape. As she delves into the intricacies of Meredith’s life, Solange not only honors a forgotten architect but also reaffirms the importance of preserving the rich tapestry of Black history.

When Solange’s curated retrospective on Amaza Lee Meredith finally sees the light of day, it will serve as more than just a tribute; it will be a testament to the resilience and creativity of Black visionaries throughout history. In championing Meredith’s legacy, Solange invites us to reimagine our understanding of architecture, history, and the enduring impact of those who dare to defy convention.

Written By