• Born into slavery in 1854 in Abbeville, SC, Richard Lewis Brown may be Jacksonville’s most well-known African-American architect and builder. Regarded as the city’s first known African-American architect, Brown was also elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 1881, serving two consecutive terms. Residing on the Eastside at 1727 Milnor Street, Brown was hired by the Duval County School Board to build and repair schools following the Great Fire of 1901. A member of the African Methodist Episcopal church, Brown is also credited with building Centennial Hall on the campus of Edward Waters College. Brown resided in the Eastside on an estate he designed to have a similar layout to the plantation he was born on. Brown died in 1948 at the ripe old age of 94. The property was donated to the Duval County School Board after his death, becoming the present-day site of R.L. Brown Gifted and Talented Academy.