Considered the most important African American architect in the United States, Charles McAfee of Wichita, Kansas, has used architecture to create opportunities for African Americans and make social commentary about racial inequality. Born in Los Angeles to Arthur and Willie Anna McAfee on Christmas Day, 1932, McAfee received his B.S. from the University of Nebraska. Beginning his career in the early 1960s, McAfee has developed and sustained Charles F. McAfee Architects and Planners, with offices in Wichita, Atlanta, Dallas and Oklahoma City.
The diversity and breadth of McAfee's career distinguishes him in his field. Throughout his career, he has been affiliated with countless architectural and urban planning projects, many receiving national recognition. McAfee's projects range from institutional facilities (renovation of Oklahoma City School District 89) to transportation structures (Atlanta's North Line Midtown Station), religious structures (Wichita's Calvary Baptist Church) to recreational facilities (McAdams Park), in addition to housing and commercial facilities. The significance of a regional structure, like Kansas's first national black historical society, is as striking as McAfee's national projects. His firm's projects have included the design and construction of FAA/NADIN computer facilities as well as design consultation and construction management of facilities for the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.
In recognition of his distinguished career, McAfee has been the recipient of countless awards and distinctions, including the American Institute of Architects Kansas Chapter Excellence in Architecture Award and the Federal Housing Administration's First Honor Award. He serves on numerous professional and civic boards of directors, including the Catholic Social Services and the National Business League. Mr. McAfee has also served as the president of the National Organization of Minority Architects and Midwestern president of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.
Mr. McAfee maintains his commitment by providing mentorship to minority architects and planners, including his daughters Cheryl McAfee-Mitchell and Charyl McAfee-Duncan who run the family offices in Atlanta, Dallas and Oklahoma City. Mr. McAfee is married to Mrs. Gloria Winston McAfee, a dedicated educator and community leader.
Charles McAfee was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 27, 2002.