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With the opportunity to attend UT came a sense of responsibility.

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During a 2010 convening of the Precursors, many of the first generation of African American students shared memories of their social experience in the early years.

Many agreed that their first year or two on campus was merely an attempt to survive.

It was necessary to create an all-Black institution as the Texas Constitution of 1876 required segregated schools.

The historically Black institution in East Austin became Huston-Tillotson after the 1952 merger of two colleges birthed out of the American Missionary Society of Congregational church.

A poll tax in 1902 forced many Black voters away from the polls, reducing their numbers by the tens of thousands, and in 1906 the Austin city council passed an ordinance that legalized segregation on public transportation systems.[3] In 1923, the legislature even went so far as to pass a “white primary law” that prohibited Blacks from voting in the Democratic primaries.

Despite the bold efforts of African Americans to resist institutionalized racism in the form of segregationist laws, progress was slow.The small campus would become a shelter and a haven for Black students at UT, serving to supplement the lack of support and understanding of UT faculty and administration alike during the first few years of UT’s integration era.Although UT had opened its doors to black students, it was made clear that the extent of Black student life would be restricted to the classroom.It did not apply to Hispanics, although there was much discrimination aimed at Latinos.The plan to relocate Austin’s black population to an area across East Avenue (which now is Interstate 35) was the City Council’s way to accomplish segregation without defying the Constitution.Despite the pervasiveness of institutionalized racism throughout the state, Blacks in Austin established a vibrant, thriving community in the Eastern part of the city.

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