Architect’s vision of African American history

DURHAM, N.C. – The National Museum of African American History and Culture was a long time coming, but for architect Phil Freelon, it was right on time.

“It seems like I was preparing for that my whole life,” Freelon said in an interview at his office in Durham. “It came along at a time when I was prepared. If it had come online 10 years earlier, I think the Smithsonian might have considered me too young or not as experienced.”

Freelon, 63, a native Philadelphian, was principal architect of the museum, which opened to intense acclaim and popularity Sept. 24 in Washington.

He’s now world-renowned for his designs, but his success didn’t come quickly or easily.

While home for the summer from college, he once resorted to nagging a local architect into letting him sit at a spare desk and deliver blueprints to engineers as he…

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