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Deryl McKissack: Leading a Black Dynasty in the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction Industry

Founded in 1905, McKissack & McKissack are the oldest African American-owned architecture and engineering firm in the country. As of 2013, the family-owned successor companies were reported to have more than 150 professional staff members and over $15 billion in projects. Corporate headquarters of McKissack & McKissack Corporate are in New York City; other offices are in Birmingham, Alabama; Bridgeport, Connecticut; Memphis, and Philadelphia.

Deryl McKissack, twin sister of Cheryl McKissack, is the 5th generation President and CEO of McKissack & McKissack, the country’s oldest woman and minority-owned professional design and construction firm.

The sisters grew up on building sites and are continuing the family's legacy.

Early Projects

- 1895 and 1905, Moses McKissack built houses in Decatur, Alabama, and Mount Pleasant and Columbia, Tennessee.

- Main campus building for the Turner Normal and Industrial School for Negroes in Shelbyville, Tennessee

- Opened an office in Washington, D.C. in 1990

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Major Projects

- Construction management services for the Harlem Hospital - Center New Patient Pavilion

- MGM National Harbor

- Led the joint venture design-build team for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington, DC.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington, DC. (Photography by Anice Hoachlander.)

In conclusion,

The McKissack Dynasty is a part of America’s history.

As of 1975, McKissack & McKissack had completed nearly 3,000 building projects, including close to 2,000 churches.

“If all of this evil and all of these obstacles, were in the way of African Americans and they were still able to accomplish so much — it makes you feel there is nothing you can’t do.”- Derl McKissack