McKissack & McKissack is an outgrowth of the oldest minority-owned architecture/engineering firm in the United States.
Its roots go back to before the Civil War, when a slave named Moses McKissack learned the building trade from his overseer. It was his grandson, Moses III, who launched the first McKissack & McKissack in Nashville, Tennessee. The year was 1905.
McKissack & McKissack was founded by Deryl McKissack in 1990. When Ms. McKissack established her company, she was the fifth generation of her family to carry on the building tradition.
The McKissack family traces their ancestry back five generations to the Ashanti Tribe of Ghana, from where a young man was taken. He survived the horrors of the middle passage and was sold into bondage to William McKissack of North Carolina. This young African was given the name Moses McKissack.
Moses McKissack comes to this country as a slave, owned by a prominent contractor who used his skills as a master carpenter. He passed the trade down through the generations, with his grandsons becoming the first licensed black architects in the Southeastern United States.
Gabriel Moses McKissack (1840-1923) laid the foundation in Giles County for a family building tradition. A carpenter and a son of a master craftsman and freedman Moses I. Gabriel fathered six sons with whom many Giles County buildings are associated.