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Group of African-American children swimming and splashing at the segregated Rosewood Park swimming pool.


Six Square promotional video describing the organization and history of East Austin black cultural district. Starting with the history of the segregationist policy enacted in Austin's 1928 master plan to force African Americans to live in a designated six square mile zone in east Austin, this video explains the mission of the Six Square African American cultural heritage district.


The 1928 Austin city plan (also known as the 1928 Austin master plan) was commissioned in 1927 by the Austin City Council. It was developed by consulting firm Koch & Fowler, which presented the final proposal early the next year. The major recommendations of this city plan related to Austin's street plan, its zoning code, and the development of major industries and civic features, but it is most remembered for institutionalizing housing segregation by designating East Austin as the city's "negro district". Koch & Fowler submitted their finished proposal to City Council in January 1928, in a document titled "A City Plan for Austin, Texas". The 80-page report included a large section on the development of the city's street plan, another on the design and placement of municipal parks and other urban green spaces, and a number of shorter sections on other public amenities such as public schools, cemeteries, fire stations, and a proposed civic center. Other sections discuss the development of the city's railroad and streetcar networks, the desirability of a municipal airport, the establishment of a new municipal zoning code and rules for land subdivision, and the city's integration into the development of the surrounding region. Creation of the Negro District on the land targeted in the 1928 Master Plan was enforced by the city’s land use regulation. The legalized segregation of African Americans by the 1928 Master Plan evolved into the effective and real segregation of African Americans and Latinx people in East Austin. The "pull" incentives recommended in the city plan were complemented by "push" incentives when the city avoided extending the sewer system or paved roads into the existing freedmen communities elsewhere in Austin, and real estate "redlining" also pushed African Americans east of the central city. By 1932 almost all of the city's black residents had relocated to East Austin, and the other black communities across the city had largely disappeared. This pattern of racial housing segregation persists in Austin to the present day.


Photograph of a "for whites only" sign above the entrance to a building.


students inside a bus


Construction of Calcasieu Lumber Company offices, located at 301 W 2nd St. The photograph emphasizes the segregated restrooms in the foreground.


"Sunday Night, May 16, 1937. Last show audience-Old Ritz-showing "Jailbreak"-[vita]-(Reopenced July 25-37-in new building. July 25-Sunday-"Pennies from Heaven""Image depicts large audience in segregated theater space, from screen.


Overton, Volma interviewed by Anthony Orum on 04/30/1984


Overton, Volma interviewed by Anthony Orum on 04/30/1984


Overton, Volma interviewed by Anthony Orum on 04/30/1984


Students and parents wait to get on bus. Photo taken from inside bus looking out.

circa 1974

Students protesting segregation in front of a movie theater.


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