Black History Month and Austin's Dirty Laundry

KLRU launches online series featuring ATX civil rights leaders

Black History Month and Austin's Dirty Laundry

Despite being one of the most progressive cities in the U.S., Austin has a long and dirty history of segregation, the results of which are still visible today. It’s shocking to see clear racial lines in a city that considers itself ahead of the pack. In light of this and in honor of Black History Month, KLRU has launched Austin Revealed for you to mull over.

Austin’s most notable civil rights leaders have joined with KLRU to share their personal stories about American black life in Austin – both past and present.

Created as an oral history project, the aspiration for the online weekly series is to “encourage discussion and thought around the city's future,” states the press release.

Storytellers include Wilhelmina Delco on being Austin’s first African-American elected to public office, Joan Khabele on how she helped desegregate Barton Springs, and Gary Bledsoe details the history of police violence targeted at the black community “and why he thinks the issue still exists today.” And that's just some of nine compelling stories.

KLRU has several other specials planned for February to further the much-needed race discussion. Dancer and teacher China Smith, of Ballet Afrique, is the focal point of the month’s Arts In Context: A Reason to Dance special. According to the release, the feature will follow “Smith on her quest to spread awareness about the mixed nature and diversity of the African diaspora through contemporary dance.”

And UT’s Black Studies scholars will talk about education, arts and culture, and youth empowerment on the new series, Blackademics, airing Sundays at 1:30.

The accounts shared in Austin Revealed might be hard to sit with and even harder to accept, but it’s time that we stop avoiding the hard stuff and acknowledge the racial separation that still happens here in Austin. It’s the only way we’ll ever move past it.

Find the complete Austin Revealed series here.

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KLRU, Austin Revealed, Black History Month, segregation, China Smith, Wilhelmina Delco, Joan Khabele, Gary Bledsoe

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