Professional Planning and African American Inclusion: The Early Years

Planning emerged as a progressive era profession in the first decade of the 20th century.  However, it was decades later before the first African American earned the professional degree in the discipline.  And since then, the number of African American planners has remained small relative to the percentage of the U.S. Black population.  Based upon historical research in progress, this presentation highlights the experiences of the African American planner and their efforts towards inclusion, equity, and social justice in the planning movement and through the American Planning Association into the 1980s. 

About Jeffrey Lowe, Ph.D.
Jeffrey Lowe is an Associate Professor in the Department of Urban Planning and Environmental Policy at Texas Southern University (TSU).  Prior to joining the TSU faculty, Lowe held faculty positions in the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University, Graduate Program in City and Regional Planning at The University of Memphis, and the Department of Urban and Regional Planning at both Florida State University and Jackson State University.  During his Fall 2020 sabbatical, Lowe was a Distinguished Visiting Faculty Fellow at the Advanced Research Collaborative (ARC) of The Graduate Center, City University of New York (CUNY) for the Fall 2020 term.

Lowe’s research focuses on social justice and racial equity concerns within the context of community development as well as diversification of the planning profession.  His scholarship advances understanding and policy recommendations for Gulf Coast revitalization post-disaster recovery, innovations in community-based planning, resistance to gentrification; and philanthropy.  He is the author of Rebuilding Communities the Public Trust Way: Community Foundation Assistance to CDCs, 1980-2000 (Lexington Press) and other publications including those in Planning, Practice and Research, Housing Policy Debate, Journal of Urban Affairs, and Urban Geography.  Lowe’s service to the planning profession includes his recent appointed to chair the newly established Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP) Presidential Anti-Racist Taskforce, founding member and past co-chair of the Planners of Color Interest Group (POCIG), past-chair of ACSP’s Committee on Diversity, and chair of the Planning and the Black Community Division of the American Planning Association.  At present, Lowe is a member of the Grounded Solutions Network (a Community Land Trust) Research Collaborative, and research fellow at the Kinder Institute for Urban Research (Rice University).  He serves on the board of the Great Plans Restoration Council and the editorial boards of the Journal of the American Planning Association, Journal of Planning Education and Research, and Progressive City: Radical Alternatives (the online magazine of Planners Network).  

Lowe earned a Bachelor of Business Administration from Howard University; a Master of City and Regional Planning from Morgan State University; and a Ph.D. in Urban Planning and Policy Development from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.