8 Influential Black Real Estate Figures You Should Know

Updated: Feb 3

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


Philip Payton

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


Shirley Anita Chisholm

American politician, educator, and author; the first black woman elected to the U.S. Congress.


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.


Ann Lowe

Manhattan’s premier socialite fashion designer of the mid-20th century, known for creating Jackie Kennedy’s iconic wedding dress.


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

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.

0 comments
Sign up to receive curated listings and market insights straight to your inbox.

Thanks for submitting!