Austin is the capital of Texas and a fast-growing
city of about 700,000 people. The traditional dividing line between
East Austin and West is Interstate 35. The majority of East Austin
residents are African-Americans and Mexican-Americans, in part because
of a history of segregation that included white city planners actually
pushing communities of color off valuable downtown land. As the
Austin metropolitan area sprawls and prices rise for centrally located
real estate, gentrification is posing a less blatant, but no less
real, threat to East Austin's deep-rooted communities.
Nevertheless, the communities remain vibrant and
Austin’s changing demographic profile adds strength and vitality
to “minority” communities. More than half of the students
in Austin schools are Hispanic, for example, reflecting a growing
Latino presence not just in the schools, but in business and politics.
African-Americans, too, play a major role in the school board, county
commissioners’ races, and chamber of commerce. But while the
future of Austin will no doubt differ greatly from its past, East
Austin will remain central to the city’s social and economic
Use these resources to find out more about the past
and present of Austin, Texas.