LA Dreamers: Our African-American Pioneers — Paul Williams

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LOS ANGELES (KTLA) — We’re celebrating Black History Month by highlighting Southern California’s African-American pioneers.

Today, KTLA’s Gayle Anderson pays homage to Paul Williams, one of the finest architects of the modern era.

Williams was the first African-American to join the American Institute of Architects in 1923.

In order to overcome racism, Williams learned how to sketch upside down so his white clients would not feel uncomfortable sitting next to him.

This creative innovator designed homes for many celebrities, including singer Frank Sinatra and comedienne Lucille Ball.

He became known as the architect of the movie stars.

You can see his vision in the space-age theme building at LAX, the Beverly Hills Hotel and the First African Episcopal Methodist Church of Los Angeles.

To find out more about Paul Williams and other L.A. pioneers, the Los Angeles Urban League has a special exhibit called “The 90 That Built L.A.”

For more information, go to

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