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Smart Lady Becomes 1st Black Woman to Earn PhD in Architecture from University of Hawaii

Black Women in Education

Smart Lady Becomes 1st Black Woman to Earn PhD in Architecture from University of Hawaii

by  Kelly Lippke Shazia Kassim via

After 115 years, Danielle McCleave has become the first black woman to graduate with a doctoral degree in architecture at the University of Hawaii (UH) at Mãnoa. McCleave earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with an emphasis in sculpture and painting from Belmont University before heading to UH to further her studies.

She has made history as the first black woman to earn a Doctor of Architecture professional degree from UH Mãnoa in the school’s 115-year existence.

McCleave was hit with a variety of emotions when she first found out that she would be the first…

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I am a future butterfly at the stage of growth when I am turning into an adult. I am enclosed in a hard case shell formed by love, family, and friends. It is the hardest stage of becoming a black butterfly. You will encounter many hardships only to come out stronger and better than what you went in. At this stage, you are finding out who you truly are and how to love yourself.

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The image of the butterfly has come to define the many expressions of the feminine black consciousness and for a good reason. The butterfly is the perfect articulation of the exquisite beauty of nature. Whether tiny or large, brightly colored or more subdued, the butterfly’s allure is undeniable. Each one displays its own unique patterns and hues, and no one species outshines any other.

Similarly, there is no one ideal image of a black woman -- each is gorgeous in her right. All African-Americans share a glorious history of struggle and perseverance that has funneled into the modern black renaissance. And, like the graceful butterfly, the awakened black woman exemplifies the dazzling beauty of that cultural evolution.

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