Paul R. Williams (1894-1980), was an African American architect who largely based his practice in Los Angeles and the Southern California area. Williams studied at the Los Angeles School of Art and Design, the Los Angeles branch of the New York Beaux-Arts Institute of Design Atelier and finally the University of Southern California. Williams served on the first Los Angeles Planning Commission in 1920, and became a certified architect in 1921. He was the first certified African American architect west of the Mississippi.
Williams opened his own office at age 28, and was known as an outstanding draughtsman. In 1939, he was awarded the AIA Award of Merit for his design of the MCA Building in Beverly Hills.
From 1939-1940, the recently graduated A. Quincy Jones worked for Williams, and the two would later partner on three Palm Springs projects. During WWII, Williams worked for the Navy Department as an architect.