John S. Chase

John Saunders Chase, Jr. (January 23, 1925[1] March 29, 2012) was an American architect who was the first licensed African-American architect in the state of Texas and was the only black architect licensed in the state for almost a decade. He was also the first African-American to serve on the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, which reviewed the design for the United States Vietnam Veterans Memorial.[2]

On June 7, 1950, when Chase enrolled at the University of Texas, the university became the first major university in the South to enroll an African-American. Upon graduation, no white firm would hire him, so Chase moved to Houston to start his own firm. In 1963, he built the Riverside National Bank, the first black-owned bank in Texas.[3] In 1971, he and 12 others founded the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA).[4]


  1. "John Chase Biography". Retrieved 2012-04-02.
  2. Thomas E. Luebke, ed., Civic Art: A Centennial History of the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, 2013): Appendix B, p. 542.
  3. "John Chase, one of UT's first black students, dies". Retrieved 2012-04-02.
  4. "John S. Chase, FAIA, NOMAC". Archived from the original on 2012-01-30. Retrieved 2012-04-02.
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