Robert P. Madison fought in World War II in Italy as a proud member of the historic Buffalo Soldiers, the all-African-American unit of the U.S. Army that traces its lineage back to the Civil War. Second Lieutenant Madison was wounded in combat and received a purple heart, but when he returned to civilian life in 1946, eager to resume his education at Western Reserve University (now Case Western Reserve) in Cleveland, his application was summarily denied simply because he was black.
A few days later, Madison returned in his full dress uniform with his purple heart and, shamed and under duress, administrators grudgingly admitted him to the university even though some whispered, “you will never be an architect.”
It was one of the many times that Madison, now 96, was underestimated during a life that created social change—Madison became the first African-American architect in Ohio, only the 10th in the nation, and eventually was named president of the Cleveland chapter of the American Institute of Architects.
Source: Legacy Award Winner Robert P. Madison Knocks Down Barriers for Minority Architects | 2020-01-14