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.
Anderson High School opened in 1889 as the first African American school in Austin. It was named after the principal of Prairie View Normal Institute, E.H. Anderson, and later renamed for his brother, Laurine Cecil Anderson, in 1938. It served as a community focal point that brought families together, often through sports.
Efforts to integrate schools were slow to catch on in Austin. A few students left LC Anderson High School to attend predominantly white schools, but most returned. After a lawsuit by the US Department of Education, the Austin school district created a desegregation plan that included shutting down Anderson High School and spreading its students to different schools in the district.
Students opposed the plan, arguing that LC Anderson could be integrated instead of closed. However, Judge Jack Roberts agreed with the district and ordered the immediate closure of the school. Still, many students protested at the beginning of the school year before attending their respective new schools. For the remainder of the 1970s and into the 80s, the East Austin community felt the effects of the school's shutdown. A ripple of closings affected local businesses, starting with those that were close to the school.
A new, integrated LC Anderson High School opened in 1973. While this new school kept the name of LC Anderson High School alive, it was located on the other side of town, and the mascot and colors were also changed.
Cover photo by unknown via Austin History Center / Austin Public Library.