Born to Robert James and Nettie Brown Madison of Cleveland, OH, Robert Prince Madison benefited from having a father who had graduated from Howard University as a civil engineer. He enrolled at Howard University in architecture, but joined the military, serving as second lieutenant in the Army in World War II. When he was discharged from the army after being wounded, he returned to Cleveland to finish his degree in architecture, applying to Western Reserve University. Initially he was denied admittance because of his race, but after appealing he was eventually admitted, earning his bachelors degree in architecture in 1948. After graduation Madison found employment with Robert A. Little and remained with him until 1951.
In 1951 Madison enrolled in Harvard University's Graduate School of Design, then led by Walter Gropius.In 1952 he received his MS in Architecture and was hired by Howard Hamilton Mackey to teach architecture at Howard University. However, soon after he was notified that he had been awarded a Fulbright scholarship to study architecture abroad, the first African American to gain this honor. For nine months he studied at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris, concentrating on urban design and pre- stressed concrete construction. After Paris he returned to Howard University to teach, conducting independent office work on the side. In 1954 after passing his registration exam for the District of Columbia, Madison returned to Cleveland to open Madison & Madison with his brother Julian, a civil engineer.
By the 1970s this firm operated offices in Detroit, Chicago, Atlanta, Milwaukee, Trinidad, and Cleveland. So successful were they that by the 1980s the office had changed its name to Robert P. Madison, International, Inc.
Sandra L. Tatman.
Clubs and Membership Organizations
- American Institute of Architects (AIA)
- Ecole des Beaux-Arts
- Harvard University
- Howard University
- Case Western University
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