Ada Anderson

East Austin Austin

Six Square | Austin's Black Cultural District
Written By Six Square | Austin's Black Cultural District

Six Square is the nexus of thriving Black arts and culture in Central East Austin. We re-animate cultural spaces, connect community, and honor the past, present, and future of Austin’s Black Cultural District.

An Austin native, she was born October 2, 1921 in Austin, Texas to Cecilia and Walter Collins. Anderson attended L.C. Anderson High School, a segregated high school that would remain that way until 1971. Always firmly interested and invested in college, she would go to Tillotson College for Home Economics and graduate in 1941.

After graduation, Anderson would go on to work at the Texas Employment Commission, as well as teach for the Austin Independent School District. Anderson finished her coursework for an M.S. degree in library science but could not complete the degree because she was not allowed to do the required fieldwork a the the State Library. This blatantly unfair and prejudiced decision would fuel her desire for change and civil rights for years to come. In 1951, she gained co-ownership of the real estate and insurance firm Anderson-Wormley with her husband, Andy Anderson. She went on to earn her M.S. degree in educational psychology at UT in Austin. In a milestone election for the African American Community, Anderson would become the first African Americans to win a countywide election in Travis County, when she was elected to serve on the Austin Community College board.

Anderson was enshrined in The Texas Black Women’s Hall of Fame and the African American Women’s Hall of Fame both in 1986. In 1992 she was named Woman of the Year by the Women’s Symphony League of Austin and in 1999 she co-chaired the Mayor’s Blue Ribbon Task Force for the Austin Independent School District. She remains an active force in the Austin community, in 2014 she was gave a record $3,000,000 to Huston-Tillotson University. Ada Anderson is an Austin lifer and her love for the city and its residents has been in many ways her life work. She is an inspiration to so many in Austin and a living representation of the cities dynamism, creativity, and entrenched sense of social justice.

Cover Photo Courtesy of HistoryAAA via Flickr

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