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.
Rosewood Park was established as the city’s first open public space for African Americans, and has been a staple in the East Austin community for decades. In 1928, the City of Austin implemented its Master Plan which implemented segregation in to city policy. When Austin’s Black population was forced to move to East Austin, Rosewood Park grew into a community hub. In 1930 was the host of the first city-sponsored Juneteenth celebration. For the Black community in East Austin, Rosewood Park was a place to play, socialize, and experience relief from the oppressive systems that permeated society in Austin during that time. In 1944, an auditorium was constructed in the park that hosted dances and entertainment events for black World War II servicemen from around Texas. The building was later named the Doris “Dorrie” Miller Auditorium, after a Texan who was the first African-American to receive the the Navy’s highest honor, the Navy Cross. Miller was a cook on a Navy ship at Pearl Harbor in 1941. When the Japanese planes began bombing the Navy base in Hawaii, Miller was quick to man the ship's anti-aircraft gun even though he had no formal training. The park is also home to the home of Henry Green Madison, who was elected as the first African American City Councilman in Austin in the 1860s.
The focal point of the park is the Dolores Duffie Recreation Center, which is named for a life-long resident of the Rosewood neighborhood. The building originally belonged to a local storeowner who lived on the land in the 1870s. The center is now home to after-school programs, classes, workshops, performances, and many other events that cater to the Rosewood community. The park also features tennis courts, a swimming pool, playscapes for children, and baseball fields.
Cover image: courtesy of the Austin History Center