Ronald Lee Harden shares his story and legacy in his book “Untold Architectural Black History of Tampa, Florida: My 36-Year Architectural Career in Tampa” (ReadersMagnet; 2022). Across between a memoir and an architectural history book, the book walks readers through the various projects the author worked on when he was an architectural project manager.
Harden's love for architecture was ignited by taking high school drafting classes. After graduating, he worked as an apprentice carpenter and then enrolled at Hillsborough Community College to pursue an associate degree in Architectural Construction Technology. He made history by becoming the first black person to obtain that degree.
After a brief stint in the Marines, Harden found work as an architectural draftsman, job captain, and later project manager at the Tampa office of the architectural firm MJS&H. After that, he worked at a number of other architectural firms.
Among the projects he had worked on during his 36-year architectural career include the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, Gaither and Bloomingdale High Schools, the Harbour Island project, Mobley Park, and Osbourne Landing Apartments. Harden discusses how he got these assignments and the tasks needed to complete them.
In reflection, the reader will understand how Tampa's architecture and urban design connect with the history and aspirations of the city's African-American and other mixed communities. This book will enable readers to look beyond the aesthetics, styles, and appeal of the architectural projects Harden had worked on; it invites them to reflect on the positive impact these projects have had on Tampa's diverse communities.
Untold Architectural Black History of Tampa, Florida: My 36-Year Architectural Career in Tampa
Author | Ronald Lee Harden
Published date | May 14, 2022
Publisher | ReadersMagnet
Book retail price | $6.99- $36.96
Ronald Lee Harden grew up during the time of segregation. He started working at age 14 as a dishwasher/fry cook at a cafeteria from 1965 to 1969. In ninth grade, he took up drafting classes at Howard W. Blake High School, taking it for all four years of high school.
After graduating in 1969, he worked as an apprentice carpenter at the new Tampa International Airport. He enrolled at Hillsborough Community College (HCC), studying architectural construction technology. He was the first graduate of the college's architectural program – and the first black to do so. As a project manager for local architectural firms, Ronald considers himself blessed to work on many projects that benefit his community.
He resides in Riverside Heights in Tampa, Florida.
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