AUSTIN (KXAN) — Myrtle Robinson and her daughter Carol Williams took a walk down memory lane on the grounds of Austin’s first all-Black school.
Robinson attended The Montopolis School.
She and Williams have led efforts for years to protect the school through their group called Montopolis Strong.
They’re thrilled after the City of Austin recently voted to dedicate the land to protect the old school building. It said it is committed to preserving it as a historical and cultural landmark.
“Oh, man, if I could have shouted up in that city council, would say, ‘oh, mommy,’ while I shout. The neighborhood has changed, and this is the only thing we really have left,” Williams said.
The land used to be privately owned before 2019 and almost became a site for mixed-use housing and retail spaces.
It wasn’t until a tense eminent domain process that the city took possession of the land.
“Our numbers are dwindling among Hispanics and African Americans, so ensuring that we have places like the historic school and the tract of land adjacent to it preserved for generations to come is paramount,” said District 3 Austin City Council Member José Velásquez.
Staff is now taking community feedback to figure out what comes next. But for now, it’ll remain a sacred space for longtime Black Austinites for celebrations like Juneteenth and even church events.
Williams said they’d like to see the school turned into a museum or community space.
“When you have history, it’s in the bloodline,” Williams said. “And it’s rooted deep inside of you.”