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John A. Lankford, architect, and designer of the True Reformer Hall 1200 U Street, NW, lived and worked at this location on Q Street.

Lankford was born in Missouri and educated at Missouri State College, Lincoln University (Missouri), and then Tuskegee Institute. He earned multiple degrees in the sciences, and also studied architecture and mechanical drawing. His early professional work was in engineering and mechanics. Lankford arrived in Washington in 1902 where he had been hired by the Richmond-based United Order of True Reformers to complete the design and supervise construction of its Washington headquarters. The large size and complexity of the building is impressive because it was the first substantial professional commission in Lankford's career.

Lankford initially lived at 1916 11th Street, NW, but then moved to this house at 1448 Q Street, where he practiced architecture. He kept his residence here even after moving his office first to 1210 W Street and then 1115 U Street. Lankford specialized in church, fraternal, and school designs. In 1908 he was appointed supervising architect for the African Methodist Episcopal denomination, and consequently received a large number of church commissions throughout the United States and in South Africa.

He is considered the first African American architect licensed in the State of Virginia (1922) and the first registered African American architect in the District of Columbia (1924). He published two editions of Artistic Churches and Other Designs first in 1916 and then in 1924.

Lankford also promoted racial progress, founding the Washington, DC branch of the National Negro Business League.


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