Week Three: Black History in Real Estate
Paul Revere Williams was born in Los Angeles on February 18, 1894 to Lila Wright Williams and Chester Stanley Williams who had recently moved from Memphis with their young son, Chester, Jr. When Paul was two years old his father died, and two years later his mother died. The children were placed in separate foster homes. Paul was fortunate to grow up in the home of a foster mother who devoted herself to his education and to the development of his artistic talent.
At the turn of the 20th century, Los Angeles was a vibrant multi-ethnic environment with a population of only 102,000 of which 3,100 were African American (U.S. Census 1900). During Williams’ youth the California dream attracted people from across the United States, and they mixed together with little prejudice. Williams later reported that he was the only African American child in his elementary school, and at Polytechnic High School he was part of an ethnic mélange. However, in high school he experienced the first hint of adversity when a teacher advised him against pursuing a career in architecture, because he would have difficulty attracting clients from the majority white community and the smaller black community could not provide enough work.
Williams did not give up. Confident in his strengths, he simultaneously pursued architectural education and professional experience with Los Angeles’ leading design firms while developing social and business networks. Certified as a building contractor in 1915, he was licensed as an architect by the State of California in 1921. Earning accolades in architectural competitions and the respect and encouragement of his employers, Williams opened his own practice and become the first African American member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) in 1923.
Southern California’s real estate landscape boomed during the 1920s. Williams’ early practice flourished through his growing skills as a designer of small, affordable houses for new homeowners and larger, historic revival-style homes for more affluent clients in Flintridge, Windsor Square and Hancock Park.
As his reputation grew, his practice expanded to include buildings now considered landmarks: MCA, Saks Fifth Avenue, Palm Springs Tennis Club and Golden State Mutual Life Insurance Building. The private residences he designed for leaders in business and entertainment became legendary: actor Bert Lehr, comedians Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, dancer Bill (Bojangles) Robinson, popular entertainer Frank Sinatra and the entrepreneurial Cord and Paley families. Residential design would remain an important part of his practice, but commercial, institutional and public commissions became increasingly significant as did his work beyond Southern California, across the nation and the world.
In the course of his five-decade career, Williams designed thousands of buildings, served on many municipal, state and federal commissions, was active in political and social organizations earning the admiration and respect of his peers. He frequently donated his time and skills to projects he believed furthered the health and welfare of young people, African Americans in Southern California and greater society. In 1957, he was the first African American elected a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects.
Paul R. Williams retired from practice in 1973 and died in 1980 at the age of 85.
Thomas J. Baltimore, Jr. has direct day-to-day responsibility for all of the activities of RLJ Development, LLC (RLJ), a privately held real estate investment company founded and led by Robert L. Johnson and Mr. Baltimore. RLJ and its affiliates, including two private equity funds (RLJ Lodging Fund II and RLJ Real Estate Fund III), have nearly $2 billion in equity under management from several major public and corporate pension funds and financial institutions. RLJ currently owns 142 hotels in major markets in North America, with more than 17,000 guest rooms and a portfolio value in excess of $2 billion. Mr. Baltimore is a seasoned and experienced hospitality executive.
Prior to launching RLJ, Mr. Baltimore was with Hilton Hotels Corporation as Vice President, Development and Finance (1999 to 2000), and Vice President, Gaming Development (1997 to 1998). From 1994 to 1996, he was Vice President, Business Development, for Host Marriott Services (a spin-off entity from Host Marriott Corporation). He worked for Marriott Corporation from 1988 to 1989 and from 1991 to 1993, and held various positions in the company, including Senior Director and Manager. Prior to his employment with Marriott, Mr. Baltimore was a staff auditor for Price Waterhouse.
Mr. Baltimore earned a B.S. degree from the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia in 1985 and an M.B.A. from the Colgate Darden Graduate School of Business Administration at the University of Virginia in 1991. He serves as a Trustee of the Darden School Foundation at the University of Virginia, and is a board member of the University’s Jefferson Scholars Foundation. He is a Director of Integra LifeSciences Holdings Corporation (NASDAQ: IART), Prudential Financial, Inc. (NYSE: PRU) and Duke Realty Corporation (NYSE: DRE). He is also a member of Hilton Hotel Corporation Owners’ Advisory Board, Marriott International National Association Board and the American Hotel & Lodging Association Industry Real Estate Finance Advisory Council.
Week Two: Black History Makers Today
Jo Ann Jenkins is a nationally recognized leader and dynamic change agent with a 25-year track record of growth and innovation at some of the nation’s largest public and nonprofit organizations. As CEO of AARP (a JLL client), she is at the helm of the world’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization, where she leads a nationwide network of staff, volunteers and partners helping the more than 100 million Americans 50 and older achieve health security, financial resilience and personal fulfillment. Her signature rallying cry to Disrupt Aging! is designed to revolutionize society’s views on aging by driving a new social consciousness and sparking innovative solutions for all generations.
Jenkins, a proven innovator, joined AARP in 2010 as president of AARP Foundation, AARP’s affiliated charity. She led that organization’s far-reaching development and social impact initiatives, including Drive to End Hunger, a national effort by AARP and AARP Foundation to help the millions of older Americans who struggle with hunger every day. Under her leadership, the foundation’s overall donor base increased by 90 percent over two years. Prior to joining AARP Foundation, she served on the board of directors of AARP Services Inc., beginning in 2004 and becoming its chair in 2008.
She came to AARP Foundation from the Library of Congress, where she served as chief operating officer, responsible for managing the library’s day-to-day operations, its 4,000-person staff and its budget in excess of $1 billion. During her 15-year tenure, she developed and directed the library’s most high-profile projects, including the renowned National Book Festival and the Library of Congress Experience.
A native of Mobile, Ala., she earned her B.S. from Spring Hill College. She is a 1998 graduate of the Stanford Executive Program, offered by the university’s Graduate School of Business, and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters by Washington College in May 2014.
Arnold W. Donald has been a director of Carnival Corporation since 2001 and a director of Carnival plc since 2003. Mr. Donald has been President and Chief Executive Officer of Carnival Corporation & plc since July 2013.
He was President and Chief Executive Officer of The Executive Leadership Council, a professional network of African-American executives of major U.S. companies, from 2010 to June 2012. He previously served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International from 2006 to 2008.
From 2000 to 2005, Mr. Donald was the Chairman of the Board of Merisant Company, a manufacturer and marketer of tabletop sweetener products, including the Equal® and Canderel® brands. From 2000 to 2003, he was also the Chief Executive Officer of Merisant Company. From 1998 to 2000, he was Senior Vice- President of Monsanto Company, a company which develops agricultural products and consumer goods, and President of its nutrition and consumer sector. Prior to that, he was President of Monsanto Company’s agricultural sector.
He has been a member of the boards of directors of Bank of America Corporation since January 2013 and Crown Holdings, Inc. since July 1999. He was a member of the board of The Laclede Group, Inc. from January 2003 to January 2014, Oil-Dri Corporation of America from December 1997 to January 2013 and The Scotts Company from March 2000 to January 2009.
Week One: The Original Black History Makers
James Baldwin (Aug. 2, 1924-Dec. 1, 1987) was a very important American author who wrote about the struggle of being black in America. James was the oldest of nine children and was born into poverty in Harlem, New York. He spent much of his youth reading. James' mother was a domestic worker (a maid) and his strict, cruel stepfather was a factory worker and preacher (who died in a mental hospital in 1943). James was a preacher himself for three years when he was a teenager. The author Richard Wright was James' early writing mentor. Baldwin's first book, the semi-autobiographical Go Tell It On the Mountain, was published in 1953 and is considered to be a classic American novel. Baldwin lived in France for many years, distancing himself from American life in order to examine it; Baldwin wrote, "Once you find yourself in another civilization, you're forced to examine your own." A pacifist, Baldwin participated in the Southern school desegregation struggle of the 1960s and marched with Martin Luther King, Jr. Baldwin wrote extensively about the Civil Rights Movement, including The Fire Next Time and Notes of a Native Son. Throughout his life, Baldwin used his enormous writing talent to work for racial equality. Baldwin wrote, "I love America more than any other country in this world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually." and "Artists are here to disturb the peace." Baldwin died at the age of 63 at home in Saint-Paul-de-Vence, France.
In 1922, a time of both gender and racial discrimination, Coleman broke barriers and became the world's first black woman to earn a pilot's license. Because flying schools in the United States denied her entry, she took it upon herself to learn French and move to France to achieve her goal. After only seven months, Coleman earned her license from France's well known Caudron Brother's School of Aviation.
Though she wanted to start a flying school for African Americans when she returned to the U.S., Coleman specialized in stunt flying and parachuting, and earned a living barnstorming and performing aerial tricks. In 1922, hers was the first public flight by an African- American woman in America.
Tragically, on April 30, 1926, Coleman was killed in an accident during a rehearsal for an aerial show which sent her plummeting to her death. She was only 34 years old. Coleman remains a pioneer of women in the field of aviation.