*This event is occurring as a live webinar. Registrants will be emailed a link to access the program.*
Please join us for a talk with Dr. Julie Seely, author of Skinny House: A Memoir of Family. Her book sets forth the history of her grandfather, Nathan T. Seely Sr., a master carpenter who lived in Mamaroneck, NY with his family. In the mid-1920s, Seely led a successful business constructing homes for African Americans taking part in the Great Migration. His business flourished until the Great Depression. This loss was followed by a renewal of core values, represented by the home that kept their family together: Seely’s Skinny House.
Dr. Seely will share how cherished memories allowed her to reconstruct her family history and ensure that her grandfather’s story was told. She will also present unique details of this bespoke home and the steps taken to preserve its architecture and artifacts. Through this conversation, participants will reflect on the importance of historical context, consider the dreams of ancestors, and mark ways to continue making and renewing spaces of hope, joy, and heart.
Share a Story
We invite all attendees to submit a photograph of their family’s residence, along with a two-to-three-sentence description of the structure’s significance. Please upload your photo and text file with the same file name or as a zip folder. Select images will be projected and discussed as part of the event.
Dr. Julie Seely, MD, is the granddaughter of Nathan Seely. She is a physician, author and screenwriter. Her 2011 screenplay, Skinny House, was short-listed at the New York Gotham Screen International Film Festival.
Dev Nathan Sterrette has a passion for art, technology, and cinema. He is a direct descendant of Nathan T. Seely Sr., the builder of the Skinny House, with whom he shares the ingenuity, creativity, and determination that supported Seely Sr. through challenging times.
Brent Leggs is the Executive Director of the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund, the largest preservation campaign ever undertaken on behalf of African American history. Through the fund, Leggs leads a broad community of leaders and activists in honor of the clarion that preserving African American cultural sites is fundamental to understanding the American story. He is an Associate Professor and Senior Advisor to the Center for the Preservation of Civil Rights Sites (CPCRS), Weitzman School of Design, University of Pennsylvania. Founded in 2020, the CPCRS is focused on the preservation of Black heritage and civil rights sites across the US. Leggs is a Harvard University 2018 Loeb Fellow and a recipient of the Robert G. Stanton National Preservation Award. His effort to create the Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument in Alabama, which President Barack Obama designated in 2017, is exemplary of his successful campaigns to protect many cultural monuments throughout the US.
Buy the book
Skinny House: A Memoir of Family is available for online order from Skinny House Press, Strand Books, as well as other online booksellers.
AIANY Diversity and Inclusion Committee and AIANY Custom Residential Architects Network (CRAN)