Charles E. Urdy Plaza

1021 E 11th St Austin

A Window Into Six Square/Charles E. Urdy Plaza
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.

One of the most prominent features of the East 11th Street corridor is Urdy Plaza. The plaza is marked by two stark mosaics created by local artists John Yancey, professor of Studio Art at the University of Texas and Pine Street Station founder Reji Thomas. The mosaics, aptly named “Rhapsody,” were meticulously constructed in 2004 from vibrant glass pieces and portray depictions of East Austin’s significant role in the cultivation of Austin’s music scene and the East Austin of yesteryear. The plaza also has a clock tower with a plaque that outlines the achievements of longtime East Austin resident Dr. Charles E. Urdy.

Dr. Urdy moved with his family to Austin from Georgetown, TX following World War II and soon after began establishing strong roots within the East Austin community. He received his bachelor of science in chemistry from Huston-Tillotson College (now Huston-Tillotson University) in 1954, and led efforts to increase racial equality by serving as a poll tax collector during his time as a student there. Urdy succeeded his undergraduate studies with military service, and a doctorate from The University of Texas. A lifelong educator, Dr. Urdy served as a professor at various universities, including Prairie View A&M University, Texas Southern University, and his alma mater, Huston-Tillotson University. His illustrious career culminated with being elected to serve a record five terms in the Austin City Council from 1981 to 1994. Dr. Urdy’s contributions to public service, education, and politics in East Austin have made a tangible impact in his community, as well as a reaching impact on the city of Austin as a whole.

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Urdy Plaza places Black art and history at the forefront of the East Austin neighborhood for visitors, long standing residents, and newcomers to enjoy and appreciate.

Cover image: courtesy of Six Square

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