On October 27, 2020, the Harvard University Graduate School of Design will hold a virtual event featuring Everett L. Fly, architect, former chair of the Humanities Texas Board of Directors, and recipient of the 2014 National Humanities Medal. Fly, the first African American to earn a master of landscape architecture degree from Harvard in 1977, will deliver the annual Frederick Law Olmsted Lecture on "American Cultural Landscapes: Black Roots and Treasures."
Fly believes that African American legacies are embedded in the physical and cultural substance of many of America’s built and vernacular places. Formal education in architecture introduced him to the positive potential of planning and design in respecting and expressing the cultures of people wherever they live, work, and play. He argues that American planning and design should be more deliberate in reflecting and respecting a broader cultural diversity, including Black and Indigenous peoples. Fly's work has inspired interest in and protected some of America’s most threatened, and treasured, historic African American resources.
During his lecture, Fly will discuss the research, discovery, interpretation, and applications of his preservation and cultural landscape projects, which include autonomous Black settlements, urban enclaves, districts, schools, churches, cemeteries, cultural rituals, and traditions.
The event will take place on October 27, 2020, at 6:30 p.m. CT and will be followed by a Q&A session. Register to attend the lecture online. Registrants will be provided with a link to join the lecture via Zoom. The event will also be live streamed on the Graduate School of Design's YouTube page. For more information, visit the Frederick Law Olmstead Lecture event page.
Everett Fly's commitment to creating a more complete American history through an exploration of historic places and the people who built and used them led to a lifetime of service. Fly served as vice chair of the Humanities Texas Board of Directors in 1992 and chair from 1993 to 1994. His expertise and commitment to the humanities are vast; during his time on the state council board, he also served on the board of the Federation of State Humanities Councils (1991–1994) and as a member of the prestigious President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (1994–2001). He reflected on these experiences in an oral history interview with Humanities Texas staff member Erica Whittington on July 23, 2013.