Frederick Law Olmsted Lecture: Everett L. Fly, “American Cultural Landscapes: Black Roots and Treasures”

A white church with a gray roof sits in the middle left of the image on a large, open grassy area, with sparse trees in the background.

Grace United Methodist Church and cemetery, Brazoria County, Texas (C) 2020 Everett L. Fly

The GSD is pleased to present a series of talks and webinars broadcast to our audiences via Zoom.

*This lecture will be ONLINE ONLY. For security reasons, virtual attendees must register. Scroll down to find complete instructions for how to register.

Event Description

Everett L. Fly believes that African American legacies are embedded in the physical and cultural substance of many of America’s built and vernacular places. Formal education in architecture introduced him to the positive potential of planning and design in respecting and expressing the cultures of people wherever they live, work and play. He believes that American planning and design should be more deliberate in reflecting and respecting a broader cultural diversity, including Black and Indigenous people.

As a first year student in the Harvard Department of Landscape Architecture, Fly was introduced to leading scholars, including John Brinckerhoff Jackson.  Under Jackson’s tutelage he began to research and study the origins and evolution of historic Black settlements across the United States.  Fly began to develop an interdisciplinary research methodology which could be applied to planning design, practical conservation, preservation, and interpretation of African American and underrepresented communities, buildings and landscapes.

Fly’s projects have been used to inspire interest and protect some of America’s most threatened, and treasured, historic African American resources.

Fly will discuss research, discovery, interpretation and applications of his preservation and cultural landscape work, including autonomous Black settlements, urban enclaves, districts, schools, churches, cemeteries, cultural rituals and traditions.

Screenshot of a presentation by Everett Fly on Zoom. Fly is visible on the right side of the image. The presentation shows three hats made by Fly with designs based on brands by Black cattle ranchers.

Screenshot of a presentation by Everett Fly on Zoom. Fly is visible on the right side of the image. The presentation shows a hat made by Fly with a design based on a brand by a female Black cattle rancher.


Everett L. Fly, MLA ’77, native of San Antonio, Texas, resides in the city with his wife Rosalinda. An honors graduate of the University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture, he is the first African American graduate of Harvard University’s Department of Landscape Architecture. He is a Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects.

Fly’s forty year practice as a licensed landscape architect and architect includes national multidisciplinary consultations for the National Park Service and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

He served on the State of Texas National Register Board of Review and City of San Antonio Historic and Design Review Commission. He chaired the board of Humanities Texas from 1993 to 1994.

Fly served appointments by President Bill Clinton to the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities from 1994 to 2001. President Barack Obama awarded him one of ten 2014 National Humanities Medals for his body of work preserving the integrity of African-American places and landmarks.

Recent awards include the 2018 San Antonio Power of Preservation Foundation “Champion of Preservation Award” and the 2020 Conservation Society of San Antonio “Texas Preservation Hero Award”.

He co-founded the San Antonio African American Community Archive and Museum.

Follow Everett L. Fly on Twitter.

How to Join

Register to attend the lecture here. Once you have registered, you will be provided with a link to join the lecture via Zoom. This link will also be emailed to you.

The event will also be live streamed to the GSD’s YouTube page. Only viewers who are attending the lecture via Zoom will be able to submit questions for the Q+A. If you would like to submit questions for the speaker in advance of the event, please click here.

Live captioning will be provided during this event. A transcript will be available roughly two weeks after the event, upon request.

Anyone requiring accessibility accommodations should contact the Public Programs Office at (617) 496-2414 or [email protected].