Black Experience

Pepco Honors African-American Architectural Firm That Designed Headquarters

Pepco officials unveiled a plaque this week on its 701 Ninth Street building recognizing the firm Devrouax & Purnell — known the first African-American architectural firm in history selected to design a building in downtown D.C.

In addition to the unveiling ceremony Thursday, the Paul S. Devrouax Jr. Memorial Lecture will host Michelle Wilkinson, curator of the National Museum of African American History; Marshall Purnell, president of the American Institute of Architects and partner at Devrouax & Purnell; Beverly Perry, senior adviser to the mayor of the District of Columbia; Anthony Brown, architect at Devrouax & Purnell; and members of the community for a “Preserving Legacy” panel discussion.

“One of the best ways that we can invest in the community is by working with entrepreneurs and businesses like Devrouax & Purnell,” said Pepco President Donna Cooper. “We are honored to recognize and amplify the historical significance of the Pepco Edison Place building. {Wednesday’s] discussion captures a rich history.  We are pleased to have had a small role in such a profound accomplishment that resonates with our communities.”

Devrouax and his firm have worked on some of the region’s largest and most significant buildings, such as Nationals Park, the Washington Convention Center and the headquarters of Freddie Mac and Crestar Bank.

Devrouax’s wife and daughter have committed to continuing his legacy through the Paul S. Devrouax Jr. Memorial Lecture, a nonprofit organization committed to providing a forum for dialogue to inform, mentor and educate young men by providing speeches and interactive events.

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