Finding the Cornerstone
A look at the life and work of Wallace A. Rayfield, a talented architect, craftsman, artist, and entrepreneur. Born in Macon, Georgia, in 1873, Rayfield was the second formally educated practicing African American architect in the country. His most familiar design is Birmingham’s 16th Street Baptist Church. The church was the site of the 1963 bomb blast that killed four young girls. The interest and discovery of Rayfield’s legacy took place in the fall of 1993, when Allen Durough, a minister was demolishing an old barn on his property in Bessemer, Alabama. Durough inspected the barn before the demolition began and found several hundred artifacts belonging to Rayfield. Over the last 25 years, Durough has faithfully documented the collection and attempted to find a permanent home for the material. Many of the structures Rayfield designed are still standing today.