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Our Austin Story Uncovers Forgotten Histories of Downtown's Historic Squares
October 3, 2018




Our Story
Booker T. Washington
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107 years after Booker T. Washington delivered the Atlanta Compromise speech at Wooldridge Square, city leaders and community members gathered at the Austin History Center to mark the occasion with a reenactment of Washington's speech and a tour of the square.

Booker T. Washington, a former slave and the founder of the Tuskegee Institute, was invited to speak at Wooldridge Square in 1911 by Austin Mayor A.P. Wooldridge after his request to speak at the state capitol was denied. It's estimated that 5,000 people attended his speech at a time when the population of Austin was around 35,000. 

In an interview with Fox 7, interpretive planner Ted Eubanks said, "Wooldridge Square is probably the most important single location for African American history in our city but if you look around there's not much said about that and we'd like to change that." This event is part of a project called Our Austin Story led by the Downtown Austin Alliance to preserve and share the forgotten histories of downtown's historic squares.

At the event, Mayor Steve Adler declared September 29 Booker T. Washington Day in Austin.