For many years, there was a mural on East 12th Street, and those of us who are native Austinites considered it part of the expression of the community. Because of the New Visions of East Austin, East 11th and 12th Streets were targeted for urban renewal, which left residents at a loss because of how the historic communities in West Austin had been treated. The mural’s destruction was evidence of the intent behind the New Vision for East Austin: destroy the community in the name of profit.
Why the mural changed
These two views represent the perspectives of residents versus the perspective of the city council that approved “New Visions of East Austin.” The businesses that had existed on East 12th Street had existed for decades, and they were known staples to the community members. Words matter, so when the planners approached the city council with the promise of shiny new buildings, the council only saw property taxes instead of community fabric.
Not all stories end the same was as the East 12th Street mural, which is one of the reasons that more activists have made a point of sharing the history of East Austin. Below is mural that was unable to be saved in the historic Chicano community, and the city council’s sentiment thereof.
For many years, the NAACP had its own facility on the corner of East 12th Street and Comal, in which most of the Black history of Austin was maintained. Events and meetings were held, including the attempt to designate voting districts for equitable representation. Unfortunately, a fire in 2008 damaged the building, and a lack of resources from both the NAACP and residents made it impossible to restore the facility.