ATX Together: Roots of Racism in Austin

Posted on Jan 29, 2021

ATX Together: Roots of Racism in Austin is now available to stream.

Austin’s 1928 Master Plan is the heart of institutionalized racism in the capital city. Austin adopted a plan that forced all Black people to move east of East Avenue, where I-35 stands today.

Page 57 of the 1928 Master Plan states: "There has been considerable talk in Austin, as well as other cities, in regard to the race segregation problem. This problem cannot be solved legally under any zoning law known to us at present. Practically all attempts of such have been proven unconstitutional.

In our studies in Austin we have found that the negroes are present in small numbers, in practically all sections of the city, excepting the area just east of East Avenue and south of the City Cemetery. This area seems to be all negro population. It is our recommendation that the nearest approach to the solution of the race segregation problem will be the recommendation of this district as a negro district; and that all facilities and conveniences be provided the negroes in this district, as an incentive to draw the negro population to this area. This will eliminate the necessity of duplication of white and black schools, white and black parks, and other duplicate facilities for this area.”

To read the entire 1928 Master Plan, download the PDF here.


Austin Revealed: Civil Rights Stories - documentary from Austin PBS on the city during the civil rights period

"Proof of Austin’s past is right there - in black and white" - Alberta Phillips, Austin American Statesman

"City leaders discuss legacy of segregation from 1928 plan" - Jack Craver, Austin Monitor

"1928 Master Plan - Before and after" - Undoing Racism in Austin

"Coloring the Ivory Tower" - The History of Integration at The University of Texas at Austin

"Austin Was Built to be Segregated" - Luke Winkie, Vice

"How East Austin Became a Negro District" - East End Cultural Heritage District

Ora Houston 2018 Op-Ed on 1928 Master Plan

How Austin Became Segregated - The Clio

"Inequity in the Technopolis: Race, Class, Gender, and the Digital Divide in Austin" - Edited by Joseph Straubhaar, Jeremiah Spence, Zeynep Tufekci and Roberta G. Lentz

Dividing Lines - KUT