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Austin Juneteenth Crowds Smaller Than Before

Updated: Saturday, June 21 2014, 07:14 PM CDT

Today Austin celebrated “Juneteenth” -- remembering the day slaves in Texas finally learned President Lincoln had freed them two years earlier.

The party was at Rosewood Park, but it's not as big as it used to be.

Back in the 70’s America’s major cities suffered a migration to the suburbs that came to be called “White Flight.”

Here in East Austin it's the other way around. Austin's African-Americans are heading for the suburbs.

Austin's Juneteenth celebration always draws a big crowd.  But lately these crowds have been getting smaller.

Otis X moved to Chicago for a few years and returned home to discover his East Austin neighborhood had changed.

Younger African-Americans will tell you they're still around, just not in the same place.

“We're growing because we're having more African-American babies born every day. We're still being joined together.  But at the same time were getting pushed out of our community because the government is buying the community out so they can expand the downtown and stuff like that.”

There's still plenty to celebrate in East Austin.  But Otis and others wish they could also celebrate in the neighborhood’s new growth.

“I do know that when I see all the development I don’t see blacks working on anything.  So I can't say that it’s helping anything.”

The high cost of housing in Austin has many African-American families building homes in Bastrop and Hays County.

In fact, they're big enough that they're now holding their own Juneteenth celebrations instead of coming to Austin to party.

Austin Juneteenth Crowds Smaller Than Before


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