Georgia Louise Harris Brown (June 12, 1918 – September 21, 1999) is considered to be the second African American woman to become a licensed architect in the United States. She was also the first black woman to earn a degree in architecture from the University of Kansas. She was also the only black member of the Chicago chapter of Alpha Alpha Gamma (female architects and allied women professionals). Brown showed an artistic and mechanical aptitude at an early age: she worked on cars and farm equipment with her older brother and was interested in painting. She went to Seaman High School and went to Washburn University between 1936 and 1937. In 1938 she moved to Chicago and enrolled in classes at the Armour Institute of Technology, later known as the Illinois Institute of Technology and studied under Mies van der Rohe.
She became a licensed architect on July 19, 1949, and began to work for Frank J. Kornacker & Associates that same year. She was responsible for structural calculations on the apartments on 800 Lake Shore Drive in Chicago. While at Kornacker's 8-person firm, she attended evening civil engineering classes and moonlighted. She worked in Chicago until 1953, when she left for Brazil. One of her reasons for leaving the United States was because "opportunities for advancement were limited by her race" and that in Brazil, there would be fewer racial boundaries to her success.
In Brazil, Brown worked on several significant buildings and projects. She was the project manager and designer for a large complex in Osasco and later another owned by Pfizer Pharmaceutical Corporation in Guarulhos. She also designed a Jeep plant in San Bernardo and a shipping facility for Siemens. She also designed an airport for Krupp of Germany. Other highlights included the 376,740 square foot Kodak Brasileire Comerico film factory in São Jose dos Campos. She also designed over a dozen personal homes from 1971-1985 for wealthy Brazilians.
Beverly Loraine Greene (October 4, 1915 – August 22, 1957) was an American architect. According to architectural editor Dreck Spurlock Wilson, she was "believed to have been the first African-American female licensed as an architect in the United States." She was registered as an architect in Illinois in 1942.
She attended the racially integrated University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign (UIUC), graduating with a bachelor's degree in architectural engineering in 1936, the first African-American woman to earn this degree from the university. A year later she earned a master in city planning and housing. She was also involved in the drama club Cenacle and was a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers. The following year, she earned her master's degree from UIUC in city planning and housing.
Greene also worked for the first architectural office led by an African American in downtown Chicago. Despite her credentials, she found it difficult to surmount race barriers to find work in the city. She and other black architects were routinely ignored by the mainstream Chicago press.
In 1951, she was involved with the project to build the theater at the University of Arkansas and in 1952, she helped plan the Arts Complex at Sarah Lawrence College. After 1955, she worked with Marcel Breuer, assisting on designs for the UNESCO United Nations Headquarters in Paris and some of the buildings for the University Heights Campus of New York University, though both of those projects were completed after Greene's death.