Culture, Art & Music

The East End Cultural Heritage District contains many of Austin’s most historically significant African American cultural institutions, organizations, and venues. For this community, years of racial segregation also resulted in the establishment, and continued development and nurturance, of forms of expressive culture firmly rooted in Black America’s connection to the cultural traditions of Africa. Throughout the history of Black East Austin the influence and melding of African folkways, combined with the experience of North American slavery, has resulted in a rich local tradition of creative output. From oratory and spirited praise-song in the churches, to more formal visual and musical expression through the schools, to the everyday soul food culinary arts, gutbucket blues and jazz of the cafes, Black East Austin has a unique cultural identity that sets it apart from the other sections of the city.

The inventory of cultural assets found in the District represents a diverse mix of historic/heritage sites and institutions, contemporary arts and culture organizations, and workspaces/commercial outlets of individual creatives and small businesses. Though originally settled by a mix of American Anglos, European and Mexican immigrants, and freed African/American slaves, in 1928 the City of Austin designated Central East Austin as a “Negro District.” The resultant legally-enforced racial segregation of the community restricted African Americans’ access to housing, city services, public schools and parks, and most public accommodations and social outlets. In effect, the Negro District also provided the historic foundation and geographic location for many of the churches, schools, entertainment and commercial corridors, and social institutions that now comprise the East Austin African American Cultural Heritage District.

Upon this historic foundation, present-day artistic and cultural activity abounds. The District houses Austin’s two full-time African American cultural arts organizations (ProArts and DiverseArts), the Texas Music Museum, and the Fontaine Religious Museum. Central East Austin also has the highest density of visual art studios in Austin (East Austin Studio Tour), more performing arts venues and theater companies than any section of the city, and a variety of live music venues and recording studios, all anchored by a residential community that includes a large number of working creatives in the fine and commercial arts, media, and arts related businesses.

Khalil Gibran Muhammad and a love-themed Poetry on the Plaza

Photo of Khalil Gibran Muhammad by Terrence Jennings.Dr. Khalil Gibran Muhammad, Director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture at the New York Public Library, presents “The Case that Must be Made: Research Libraries, Historical Literacy, and the Future of Brown America” for the annual Pforzheimer lecture at the Harry Ransom Center. 

Tue, 2014-02-04 19:00 - 21:00

JAMGASM2 Super Session: Benefit for DiverseArts Culture Works

DiverseArts and the Carousel Lounge presents...

JamGasm SS2 3.1.2014


Carousel Lounge
1110 East 52nd Street
Austin, Texas 78723

March 1st at 12:00PM - 12:00AM


Sat, 2014-03-01 12:00 - Sun, 2014-03-02 00:00

Carver Museum Black Banner Day Program

The George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center presents...

Carver Museum and Cultural Center
1165 Angelina St
Austin, TX 78702

Feb. 7th, 6:00 - 8:30pm

Contact Information:



Fri, 2014-02-07 18:00 - 20:30

"The Soul in the Heart of the City"

Blues Boy


This website represents the work of DiverseArts Culture Works’ East End Digital Archive Project. The Project’s long-term goal is to amass in one online location a collection of multimedia and narrative archival material that graphically illustrate the cultural history of the African American community of Central East Austin.  By collecting and incorporating materials found in a number of collaborating public archival collections, generating new primary source materials, and engaging in additional historical research and writing, the Project hopes to detail the story of this community from it’s founding more than 150 years ago to the present day. And, we hope to do so in entertaining, engaging, and interesting fashion.

As we move forward with the Project, this website will become more and more interactive and collaborative in its functionality and content. We actively seek individuals who want to help. If you have a story to share, materials that help illustrate this history, if you wish to contribute in other ways or join our research team, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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