Profiles in Preservation

Angela Ford, LEED AP, RPA

As it first appeared on the Black in Historic Preservation Instagram on 29 April 2021:


In time for the Archivists Round Table of Metropolitan New York’s, @archivists, #NYCPreservationWeek, this week’s Profiles in Black Preservationists archivist, entrepreneur, author, and Executive Director of the non-profit archive firm, The Obsidian Collection @ObsidianCollec1 Angela Ford of Chicago, IL. In the Black Preservationists Happy Hour, Angela shared that she and her team saved the archives of Ebony/Jet Magazine before the offices moved from the historic mid-century modern building on Chicago’s Michigan Avenue. And, the team has been a champion in archiving the records of the Chicago Defender, one of the more famous Black publications that was instrumental in the Great Migration of Black people from the US South to the North, informing them of jobs and other opportunities.

In a March 2021 interview with non-profit Chicago publication, “Block Club Chicago,” Angela discussed her firm's plans for the historic Justice D. Harry Hammer / Lu + Jorja Palmer Mansion in Chicago. Two years prior, Preservation Chicago placed the building and its carriage house on the 2019 Chicago 7 Most Endangered List. At the time, the non-profit was advocating for the mansion to become, “either an individual landmark or part of a broad King Drive/Grand Boulevard Chicago Landmark District, or both” (preservationchicago.org). At the time of this post, neither have materialized. Yet, Ford and her team’s plans to convert the building into an archive hub, named the Obsidian House, continue in partnership with Preservation Chicago, the Chicago Community Trust, and many other supporters.

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Angela’s bio from The Obsidian Collection website:

“Angela Ford is the Founder and Executive Director of The Obsidian Collection Archives, a national non-profit organization focused on getting the images and articles of African – American newspapers and small archives into the marketplace and on the Internet. Once hidden for decades, she has now made available over 250,000 images and other information to the public. With 25 years experience as an entrepreneur, she has the skills and fortitude to bring this organization to fruition. Angela is an entrepreneur, sustainability expert, licensed real estate broker, and property manager. She is also author of the new book Making a Microbusiness. A Bootstrapper’s Checklist of 78 Action Items for your Startup.

Sixteen years ago Angela founded a real estate and sustainability consulting firm and secured both SBA financing and rounds of capital from family and friends. Recently she partnered with a software developer and launched another start-up for property management software solutions. With success as a microbusiness owner she has also become a Community Philanthropist giving over 1,000 bicycles to children in Chicago’s neighborhoods. A graduate of Illinois State University, she is the mother of one son who lived in China and South Korea.”


- K. Kennedy Whiters (kW), @iamkennedyw


Cite this Article in APA Format:

Whiters, K. (2021, April 29) Profiles in Preservation: Angela Ford, LEED-AP, RPA. Retrieved from https://www.blackinhistpres.com/profiles-in-preservation/tiffani-simple-RA. <Insert Date Retrieved>.

Image Sources

Image of Angela Ford, https://www.linkedin.com/in/angelajford/ (Retrieved 29 April 2021).


WBEZ, https://www.wbez.org/stories/nonprofit-teams-up-with-google-to-share-historical-black-newspapers-archives/13d45e96-3f41-4eaa-b788-9a0f3c3808cc (Retrieved 29 April 2021).


Block Club Chicago, https://blockclubchicago.org/2021/04/07/with-plans-to-convert-palmer-mansion-into-a-black-media-archive-the-groups-based-out-of-its-coach-house-push-to-continue-their-work/ (Retrieved 29 April 2021).


Preservation Chicago, https://preservationchicago.org/chicago07/justice-d-harry-hammer-mansion-lutrelle-lu-jorja-palmer-mansion/ (Retrieved 29 April 2021).


Block Club Chicago, https://blockclubchicago.org/2021/04/07/with-plans-to-convert-palmer-mansion-into-a-black-media-archive-the-groups-based-out-of-its-coach-house-push-to-continue-their-work/ (Retrieved 29 April 2021).


Block Club Chicago, https://blockclubchicago.org/2021/03/03/in-bronzeville-a-push-to-preserve-historic-lu-palmer-mansion-and-chicagos-black-media-legacy/ (Retrieved 29 April 2021).



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