These Places in Austin Are Rich with Black History

Austin is one of those cities with a surprisingly rich history for its young age, and we owe a lot of that to our African-American community. The history of African-Americans in Austin is far from black and white — after all, Texas was a Confederate State fighting for slavery, segregation, and implementing several discriminatory policies. But despite all of this oppression, Austin truly wouldn’t be the city we all know and love without African-American influence. To celebrate that, these are some of the major places around Austin that are rich with Black history.

Notable Landmarks

Texas African American History Memorial

100 W 11th St, Austin, TX 78701

Located at the Capitol, this memorial is dedicated to the history of African-Americans in Austin from the 1500s to present.

Barbara Jordan Statue

307 W 24th St, Austin, TX 78712

On UT Campus, this statue immortalizes Barbara Jordan, the first African American woman from the South to be elected to the US Congress, among several other incredible achievements. 

Huston-Tillotson University

900 Chicon St, Austin, TX 78702

Not only was Huston-Tillotson the first institution of higher learning in Austin, but it was also a historically Black university. Today the university remains in a historically Black neighborhood, open to all ages, races, and religions.

Historic Neighborhoods

The East Side

During Jim Crow, there was a development plan put in action to create a segregated city, mandating that African-Americans move into the area east of I-35. We can still see the effects of this segregation today with this area being the prime location for Black-owned businesses, restaurants, and art; though more recent gentrification has altered the landscape. 

The Rogers Washington Holy Cross Historic District

This district was originally developed in the 1950s and, as of 2020, has been named a historic district — the first Black-only in Austin. The area features seven iconic homes that were an integral part of African-American history in Austin, and there are annual tours offered!

Local Businesses

Victory Grill

1104 E 11th St, Austin, TX 78702

Victory Grill was opened in 1945 as a restaurant, bar, and music club primarily for Black soldiers returning from war. The club was on the Chitlin’ Circuit (a collection of venues that welcomed Blacks) and gained widespread fame, hosting some of the most famous Black artists in the nation.

George Washington Carver Museum

1165 Angelina St, Austin, TX 78702

George Washington Carver is a museum dedicated to preserving and showcasing African American History. The space has four galleries and tons of information!

Sam’s BBQ

2000 E 12th St, Austin, TX 78702

Frequented by Stevie Ray Vaughan, Sam’s has been a landmark of East Austin since 1957. The history is less-well known, as there have been some changes in ownership, but we do know it’s some of the best barbecue in town. 

 

Want to support more Black-owned businesses in Austin? These bars & restaurants are owned and operated by African-Americans.

 

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