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The Ultimate Austin, Texas Bucket List Guide For Black Travelers
Mention Austin, Texas to your friends, and those who have visited will tell you it’s a city that’s like no other in the big ol’ state of Texas.
Do you know that Black sheep in the family, respectfully? That’s Austin.
The city has its own culture that attracts techies, nature lovers, and artists as it’s the world’s live music capital.
As much as we love Dallas and Houston, we can all agree that the traffic in Texas’s larger cities will leave you angry at the birds chirping who had nothing to do with your near-death experiences from non-drivers.
Like its traffic, the people and vibe of Austin are more chill. It’s a vibrant city that also takes pride in its local businesses.
Even better? Like most cities in the U.S., Austin wouldn’t be the city we all know and love without African American influence.
That’s why we created the ultimate bucket-list guide in Austin for your next visit.
Barbara Jordan Statue
Barbara Jordan is a phenomenal woman who reminds us that we can do anything we set our minds to.
She represents a lot of firsts.
Jordan is the first African American to serve in the Texas Senate since Reconstruction (1966-72), the first African American woman elected to the U.S. Congress from the South (1972-78), and the first woman to deliver the keynote address at a national party convention (Democratic Convention 1976, and again in 1992).
The life-sized statue in the Austin-Bergstrom Airport depicts her seated, in deep thought, with her fingertips pressed together and a book in her lap.
It’s the first major public piece in the country to honor Jordan.
George Washington Carver Museum
The Carver Museum is a space where the global contributions of all Black people are celebrated.
During your visit, you will find four galleries, a dance studio, a theatre, and an archival space. The galleries feature a core exhibit, The African American Presence in 19th Century Texas, a permanent exhibition on Austin African-American families, an Artists’ Gallery, and a children’s exhibit on African-American scientists and inventors.
Admission is free of charge.
One thing to note is The Carver Museum is not a museum dedicated to the life and accomplishments of George Washington Carver.
“He is our namesake, and we honor his contributions,” a statement reads on the website.
Did you know Austin, Texas, is home to an HBCU?
Huston-Tillotson University is a private university whose history dates back to 1875.
Before the 1950s, the colleges were separate until a merger in 1952. Like many HBCUs, the university provided Black Americans higher education until the landmark case of Brown v. Board of Education.
Immigrant Joseph Limerick built the Limerick-Frazier House in 1876, later purchased by Professor John Frazier, whose father was formally enslaved, in 1905.
Professor Frazier was appointed to teach mathematics at the now Huston-Tillotson College. Even with his status, he faced legal and systematic segregation in public spaces under the Jim Crow era laws.
Frazier and his wife, Mrs. Laura Allman Frazier, eventually opened their home as lodging for African American students and travelers excluded from white-owned hotels in Austin.
Known as The Frazier House, the home was listed in travel guides as lodgings for “Negroes” in the Chauffeur’s Travelers Bureau Official Information of Places for Recreation and Accommodation for Negroes book, as well as the Negro Motorist Green Book.
Situated two miles northeast of downtown Austin, Rosewood Park is a nearly 14-acre park established in 1929. It’s known as Austin’s first public space for African Americans.
The park also houses the original Henry G. Madison Log Cabin. The cabin was built in the 1800s by Austin’s first African American City Council member.
Southgate Lewis House
Local bookbinder and printer John Southgate built this Gothic Revival style home for his family in 1888. A few years later, local businessman Charles Lewis purchased the house in 1913, and it became an ice cream shop and one-room school operated by his daughter.
The home remained in the Lewis family until 1979. In 1986 it was sold to the W.H. Passon Historical Society for its headquarters. The society now operates the Jacob Fontaine Religious Museum, which focuses on the African American experience in Austin and Travis County.