April 15, 1928 Norma Merrick Sklarek, the first African American woman to be licensed as an architect in the United States, was born in New York City. Sklarek earned her bachelor’s degree in architecture from Barnard College in 1950 and became a licensed architect in New York State in 1954 and in California in 1962. In 1966, she was the first woman to be elected Fellow of the American Institute of Architects and in 1985 she became the first African American woman to form her own architectural firm. Among Sklarek’s designs are the San Bernardino City Hall, the Fox Plaza in San Francisco, and the Embassy of the United States in Tokyo, Japan. Following her retirement, she served on the California Architects Board. Sklarek died February 6, 2012. In her honor, Howard University offers the Norma Merrick Sklarek Architectural Scholarship Award.