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In October, KUT embarked on a project to tell the story of a neighborhood in transition: the area around 12th and Chicon streets in East Austin. Decades ago, it was a center of black life in the city, but over the past few years, the forces of gentrification have taken hold. We opened a bureau there to maintain a presence in the neighborhood and allow residents to see KUT reporters on a daily basis and help us determine the stories that needed to be told.
KUT’s Jennifer Stayton spoke with Nefertiti Jackmon, executive director of Six Square, and Natasha Madison of the 12th Street Merchants’ Association at a live broadcast during Morning Edition from the Urban Co-Lab on 12th and Chicon streets. This is an excerpt from the entire broadcast which can be heard on another episode of this podcast.
On the East Side, development and rising property costs continue to force the African-American community out. With such rapid migration, how have the neighborhood’s history and culture and the city’s African-American population been preserved? LaToya Devezin, the community archivist at the Austin History Center, spoke to KUT’s Jennifer Stayton about the work of local archivists to preserve the community’s history.
The loss of long-time East Austin residents is changing the look of some congregations. The handful of remaining churches are learning to embrace the diversity and changes within their communities, but some are left with no choice but to pull up their roots and move to a new location.
Neighborhoods in East Austin are not immune to the difficult deliberations over housing density, affordability, and when a “tear-down” truly needs to be labeled historic. City council and the Historic Landmark Commission are challenged with weighing the rights of a homeowner and the desire to preserve Austin’s history.
Ebony Acres, a historically black neighborhood in East Austin, is at the crossroads of preservation and development. With some homes slated for demolition, some neighbors are trying to slow the tides of change.
Nearly a quarter of students at Kealing Middle School are considered at-risk of dropping out, which is why the PTA runs a mentorship program. Meet mentor Gabriel Russell, a student at Huston-Tillotson, and Joshua Morgan, a Kealing student. They’re involved in the Kealing Men program. Several local and national programs have cropped up focusing on improving outcomes and academic achievement for young men of color.