City Portraits

Austin unveils 10 new faces for African American Portraits Project

Austin unveils 10 new faces for African American Portraits Project

KVUE — Ten new faces will soon be added to a mural honoring black Austinites who have had big impacts on the community.

The Reflections mural lines the outside of Austin's African American Culture and Heritage Facility on East 11th Street. It was unveiled in 2013 and is designed to pay tribute to influential people, places and events in Austin's black community. The mural is framed with pictures of men and women who have spent their lives breaking racial barriers and striving to improve the quality of life for all in Austin.

Bundled up and braving the cold, people gathered at the mural Friday afternoon to honor the new faces that will surround the mural and building. Those being honored included Theodore R. Youngblood Sr., Rev. Freddie Dixon Sr., James Ernest Hamilton, Dr. Chiquita Watt Eugene, Nelson Linder, Sheriff Gregory Hamilton, John Phillip Crawford Sr., Evers Lee Anderson, Constable Donald Nesby, and Travis County Commissioner Ron Davis.

"We have everything from educators to persons who served in the military to civic leaders," said Daryl Horton, chairperson of the City of Austin African American Resource Advisory Commission.

For Commissioner Davis, making Austin better starts with ensuring equality. "My ancestors were enslaved here in Travis County. In eastern Travis County. That's where they received their freedom. But they never did keep their eye off the prize of making life better," said Davis.

Honoree Eugene strives to make her community better by creating a greater future for Austin's children, teaching them the value of giving. "Know that it is important to always reach out and help others and look outward before you look inward," said Eugene.

The mural tells their stories; stories of a race that went from slavery to segregation, permitted to live only on the east side, to equality — a story city and community leaders say Austin can't afford to forget.


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East Austin African American Leaders Mural
10 new faces will be added to the mural.  Courtesy of City of Austin