February is Black History Month and in Austin, Black history is everywhere. From Austin's iconic East Side to Black historical monuments. Though normal celebrations are still not as prevalent due to COVID-19, here are a few ways you can celebrate Black History Month and make a difference in the community.
Visit a Black art exhibit
While there are countless Black art exhibits you could choose, consider visiting Deborah Roberts: I'm, a collage exhibit that deals with growing up and forming your identity as a Black child in America. In her work, Roberts, who is a lifelong Austin native, combines a range of tones, textures, hairstyles, features and clothes in the hopes of creating a "more expansive and inclusive view" of Black culture. I'm is on display at The Contemporary Austin Jones Center.
At the Blanton Museum, visit Diedrick Brackens's Darling Divined, an exhibit that combines intricate woven tapestries with the complexities of having a Black and queer identity. His work features weaving techniques, fabric choices, colors and symbols that were all chosen deliberately to interlace diversity and tradition.
Peruse the George Washington Carver Museum
Celebrating scientist, artist and intellectual Dr. George Washington Carver, the Carver Complex is made up of the George Washington Carver Museum, Cultural and Genealogy Center and the Carver Library. In its original location, it housed the very first library in Austin. After the building was moved to its current location on 1165 Angelina St., it was renamed in honor of Dr. Carver, who brought pride to the community. Now, the museum features four exhibits and is always free of charge.
Walk along Six Square
Texas' first and only recognized Black cultural district lives here in Austin, named for the six square miles that used to make up the "negro district." Now a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of East Austin's Black culture, Six Square is bordered by Manor Road, 7th Street, Airport Blvd and I-35. More than 80% of Austin's Black population lived within those six miles by 1930, where communities were built, churches erected and Black businesses flourished. Six Square is home to the Carver District, Huston-Tillotson University and Victory Grill, which is still slinging comfort food.
Support some of Austin's many Black-owned restaurants...
Speaking of Victory Grill, whose motto is "nourishing the soul since 1945," the restaurant and music venue is older than most Austinites. Victory Grill's threshold has been graced by big names during its time on the Chitlin' Circuit: Billie Holiday, James Brown and B.B. King all performed there during its heyday.
And beyond Victory Grill, there's so much more. Spice up your routine by grabbing some Ethiopian food at Aster's Ethiopian, a decadent breakfast sandwich from Bird Bird Biscuit, or for the vegetarian, head to Sassy's Vegetarian Soul for soul food like you've never had it before.
...and Black-owned businesses
If you can buy it, you can almost always buy it from a Black-owned business. The Black Makers Market features an array of Black artists and businesses all in one place. The market is virtual for now, so browse the Black Makers Market Instagram page for where you can shop. And if you're looking for other businesses to support, shop skincare from Divine Luxury, get your reads from Black Pearl Books, shop sustainably from Treasure City Thrift and even get aesthetically-pleasing baby toys from Austin Nature Works.
Attend ASALH's Black History Month virtual festival
The Association for the Study of African American Life and History's festival will feature a month's worth of virtual content centered around its theme, The Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity. The festival features plenty of free events centered around the Black experience with guest speakers and chances to connect. The headline event will center around finding roots in African American history with speakers Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham.
Learn about Black history by attending the Texas State Park Rangers virtual series
This month, the Texas state park rangers, in conjunction with the Buffalo Soldier Heritage Outreach Program, will debut another virtual Black History Month series, unfolding Black history in the great outdoors and as it pertains to conservation. The program aims to put Black voices in a space where they haven't been heard in the past, with programming that tells the story of Bessie Coleman, Black soldiers after the Civil War and Black firefighters.
There are countless ways to celebrate Black history in Austin so if you are able this February, take the time to recognize the achievements of the Black community in our city.
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Despite a 2-0 deficit, there was a pot of gold for Austin FC after all as it celebrated its annual Pride Night with rainbows and a 2-2 comeback draw to FC Dallas Saturday night.
After three FC Dallas losses last season, the Dallas derby draw marks the first time Austin FC has tied against its Copa Texas rival. Austin continues to edge over FC Dallas as it sits at 3rd in the MLS West.
Here are the biggest takeaways from the match:
A somber start
Decked out in colorful hues for LBGTQ+ Pride, Verde fans started the match on a somber note as they held up banners to take a stand against gun violence before the match.
As the national anthem began, fans held up banners with the names of each child that was killed in the Uvalde school shooting and a plea to "end gun violence."
The supporters' section was also dotted with Pride flags and a "Bans off Our Bodies" banner in protest of the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
FC Dallas earns a 2-0 lead
That sober tone continued onto the pitch. With midfielder Daniel Pereira's absence due to a red card, the Verde and Black lost two goals to FC Dallas by the 70th minute of play.
FC Dallas played it sneaky for the first half of the match, giving Austin FC plenty of room to hold possession as it waited to strike on a Verde error. That mentality proved dangerous for Austin as Dallas' Paul Arriola took advantage of Brad Stuver's deflection to score the first goal of the night in the 57th minute of play.
Dallas struck once more as Brandon Servant pushed past the Verde line to score the second goal of the match.
Austin FC strikes back
But energy quickly returned to Austin's favor thanks to Designated Player Sebastian Driussi, who scooted past several FC Dallas defenders alongside Moussa Djitte to snag an unlikely first goal for Austin.
A full Verde comeback
Austin's subs proved deadly as momentum returned to the home team toward the end of the match. A well-placed cross from Nick Lima—and a diving header from a fresh-legged Danny Hoesen—helped the team secure the draw with a second Verde goal in the 84th minute of play.
Hoesen, who was Austin's first starting striker last season, has now scored two goals with the team after a yearlong injury stuck him on the bench.
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Hours following the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark ruling that guaranteed a constitutional right to an abortion, on Friday, about 1,000 people gathered in Republic Square with signs calling for change.
The rally, organized by the group Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights Texas, started at the federal courthouse on Republic Square on Friday at 5 p.m. before the crowd marched to the Texas Capitol. More protests are expected to ensue over the weekend.
People showed up with all types of signs like Mindy Moffa holding up, "Keep your filthy laws off my silky drawers."
Austin joined cities across the country that saw protests for a women's right to an abortion after the ruling.
According to a recent UT poll, 78% of Texas voters support abortion access in most cases.
Sabrina Talghade and Sofia Pellegrini held up signs directed at Texas laws. A Texas trigger law will ban all abortions from the moment of fertilization, starting 30 days after the ruling. When state legislators passed the trigger law last summer, it also passed laws for more protection of firearms, including the right to open carry without a permit.
Lili Enthal of Austin yells as around 1,000 Texans marched to the Texas Capitol.
From the Texas Capitol, Zoe Webb lets her voice be heard against the Supreme Court ruling.
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