History: Twelve African-American architects from different parts of the country met, some for the first time, during the AIA National Convention in Detroit, Michigan in 1971. What these professionals recognized was the desperate need for an organization dedicated to the development and advancement of minority architects.
Present at the creation were William Brown, Leroy Campbell, Wendell Campbell, John S. Chase, D. Dodd, Kenneth B. Groggs, Nelson Harris, Jeh Johnson, E.H. McDowell, Robert J. Nash, Harold Williams, and Robert Wilson. These African-American architects wanted minority design professionals to work together to fight discriminatory policies that limit or bar minority architects from participating in design and construction programs.
That was the beginning of the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA), an increasing influential voice, promoting the quality and excellence of minority design professionals. There are NOMA Chapters in all parts of the country, increasing recognition on colleges and university campuses and providing greater access to government policy makers.
Purpose: NOMA, which thrives only when voluntary members contribute their time and resources, has as its mission the building of a strong national organization, strong chapters and strong members for the purpose of minimizing the effect of racism in our profession.
Strength in NOMA is built through unity in the cause that created the organization. Our impact is felt when our organization wrestles with the dilemmas that face this nation, particularly as they affect our profession. There is strength in numbers. By increasing the number of people in this organization, we add strength to the voice with which we can speak against apathy, bigotry, intolerance and ignorance; against abuse of the natural environment; and for the un-empowered, the marginalized and the disenfranchised.
By building a strong organization, we develop a showcase for the excellence and creativity which have been ignored for so long. Through our publications and conferences, we are able to inform the world that minority professionals have the talent and capabilities to perform in design and construction with any other group.
By building strong chapters of design professionals whose sensibilities and interests include promotion of urban communities, we are able to respond to the concerns that affect marginalized communities and people. Our goals are to increase the level of participation in the social, political and economic benefits afforded the citizens of this nation and to tear down the barriers that make full participation unattainable. Chapters give members a base from which to be involved in politics, to visit schools and reach out to children, to conduct community and civic forums and to responsibly practice in our professional capacities.
The National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) mission is to champion diversity within the design professions by promoting the excellence, community engagement, and professional development of its members.
Aims and Objectives
The National Organization of Minority Architects has been organized to:
- Foster communications and fellowship among minority architects;
Form a federation of existing and proposed local minority architectural groups;
- Fight Discrimination and other selection policies being used by public and private sector clients to unfairly restrict minority architects’ participation in design and construction;
- Act as a clearing house for information and maintain a roster on practitioners;
- Promote the design and development of living, working, and recreational environments of the highest quality;
- Create and maintain relationships with other professionals and technicians whose work affects the physical and social environment;
- Encourage the establishment of coalitions of member firms and individuals to form associate and joint venture relationships;
- Speak with a common voice on public policy;
- Work with local, state, and national governments on issues affecting the physical development of neighborhoods and communities;
- Be an effective source of motivation and inspiration for minority youth.
NJ NOMA Past Presidents:
- William M. Brown III, NOMA, AIA
- William A Moses, NOMA, Assoc. AIA