UVa Alum Honored For Collaboration On Memorial To Enslaved African American Laborers

Oct 15, 2021

Mabel O. Wilson
Credit Dario Calmese

On Tuesday, October 19, a UVA alum and one of the architectural team members who created the Memorial to Enslaved African American Laborers at the university will be honored at an award ceremony in D.C. 

Mabel O. Wilson is the 2021 recipient of the Vincent Scully Prize from the National Building Museum. Established in 1999, the Scully Prize recognizes excellence in practice, scholarship, or criticism in architecture, historic preservation, and urban design. Wilson has checked many of those boxes in her career.

MABEL O. WILSON: I'm an educator, I worked in architecture, I'm a scholar, I'm a historian, I've done curatorial work, installations, performance … I'm just proud of the collaborations I've done over the years.

Besides the Memorial to Enslaved African American Laborers, Wilson's many contributions to the field include being on the research team for the National African American Museum of History and Culture and founding a firm at the intersection of art, architecture, and cultural history. She's a professor at Columbia University, where she also directs the Institute for Research in African American Studies. She's currently working on her third book.

WILSON: I do appreciate that there is an award that recognizes being a practitioner isn't the only way to impact the built environment. And I do think that, in architecture, the idea of the singular genius, often white male architect, really is the thing that has been circulated, both in architectural education and media. But architecture is completely collaborative.

The event will be held both in person and live streamed. Tickets for non-museum members are $15 and are available online.