African American Trailblazer honoree featured on BWAF’s Pride Month podcast

Amaza Lee Meredith’s historical photograph. Photos courtesy BWAF.

The latest episode of the New Angle: Voice, an audio documentary series by the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation (BWAF), celebrates Pride Month with a podcast on the pioneering architect Amaza Lee Meredith, an honoree of Virginia’s African American Trailblazers 2009.

Meredith’s life, which included designing a summer destination for middle-class African Americans in Sag Harbor on the East End of Long Island in 1947, will soon be in the popular space. Actor Laurence Fishburne is producing a new HBOMax series based on Colson Whitehead’s novel, Sag Harbor.

BWAF executive director, Cynthia Phifer Kracauer, conceived and produced the audio documentaries with noted writer and editor, Alexandra Lange Ph.D., and the acclaimed producer, Brandi Howell. The production team traveled to cities in Virginia, Charlottesville, Richmond, and Manassas, to interview Baptist preachers and historians who document how Meredith founded a department at a university, taught art at Virginia State University (VSU), and more.

In 1947, Meredith enrolled at Teachers College in New York City. This time in New York influenced her work. The architect designed her house, which she shared with her partner, in Post World War I German style, known as the International Style.

The building image shows Azurest South (1939) in Petersburg, Virginia, one of Amaza Lee Meredith’s best documented works.

Azurest South was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1993, and its National Historic Landmark status is pending. The Sag Harbor work by the architect includes two residences, including her family’s cottage where Meredith’s drafting table could be found.

On Sag Harbor, Azurest North—which Meredith developed with her sister Maude Terry—has been listed since 2019 as part of the Sag Harbor Hills, Azurest, and Ninevah Beach Subdivisions (SANS) Historic District.

Meredith’s audio documentary can be found here.

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