East Ave: The Racial Divide

East Ave: The Racial Divide

East Avenue, now I-35

East Avenue, now I-35

Most of you know that I-35 used to be East Ave and that Austin wasn’t born with these two decks of transportation dystopia.   I’ve always assumed that the historical racial divide between East Austin and West Austin was artificially created by the beast we know as I-35. Perhaps not.  According to this Community Impact article…

“Deed restrictions kept African-Americans and Mexican-Americans east of the Avenue until actual segregation laws were passed in the 1920s.”

I’ve been working on acquiring a piece of land in West Austin. Just last week I was reading through the deed records and was shocked when I read something similar. It’s interesting to see that in our history, being on the wrong side of the tracks was actually written into law.

About Jude Galligan

Jude Galligan, REALTOR, Principal of TOWERS Realty and publisher of Downtown Austin Blog (aka. "DAB"), spends his time matching remarkable people with remarkable properties in Austin’s urban core. A resident owner in downtown Austin, Jude has served on the Board of the Downtown Austin Alliance (DAA) and the City of Austin Downtown Commission. Contact Jude.


  1. Robert Arjet says

    I read somewhere that not only did the city shut off services like garbage collection to those that wouldn’t move, but they eventually took to dumping garbage on their lawns until they gave up and relocated.

  2. Yeah, the city of Austin has this little bit of history:


    and this has more:


    Basically they weren’t so much encourage to move, as told they could no longer have any city services unless they were east of IH-35/East Ave. This is why there is such a strong African American community that is so committed to where they live in East Austin. It’s a pretty shameful period in Austin’s history.

  3. whoa…had no clue. My sis lives in austin!

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