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6 Influential Black Real Estate Figures You Should Know

Updated: Feb 6, 2023

In honor of Black History Month, we’re celebrating the work of Black designers, policymakers, architects, and real estate icons who have paved the way in New York City and beyond.


Here are six influential Black figures who have each had an indelible impact on real estate and greater society.


Philip A. Payton Jr.

Entrepreneur, known as the “Father of Harlem” due to his work renting properties in the neighborhood to Black Americans.



Roy Donahue “Don” Peebles

Founder of the Peebles Corporation—the largest, most successful black-owned real estate development and ownership company in the U.S.



Rodney Leon

Oversees NYC urban planning initiatives and designed the monument, “The Ark of the Return” as a tribute to enslaved Africans. Also designed the African Burial Ground National Monument in Manhattan.


"The Ark of Return" by Rodney Leon

Kesha Franklin

CEO and Lead Designer of Halden Interiors in NYC, an interior design firm specializing in residential and hospitality spaces.


Samantha Josaphat

Founder of Studio 397 Architecture, a name inspired by her becoming the 397th Black American female architect achieving licensure in the USA.


Ryan Williams

Ryan Williams

The co-founder of Cadre, a New York-based technology company, and an advocate for diversity and change in real estate and society at large.

2 Comments


Marcia Youngs
Marcia Youngs
Feb 17, 2023

This is good info about the newer people in real estate in the area.

What about the black realtors in new york mainly Harlem from the 1960's until 2000 that really transformed Harlem to what it has become today.


Marcia Youngs

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Yumi Vega
Yumi Vega
Jan 20, 2023
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