As we ask the question, “What is God doing in East Austin?” and look around to see who is already laboring for the flourishing of our neighborhood, it is impossible to ignore the work of the city’s oldest university, which sits at 900 Chicon Street (between 7th and 11th). Huston-Tillotson University is the result of the merger in 1952 of two historically African-American colleges: Tillotson College, started by what is now the United Church of Christ in 1881, and Samuel Huston College, a Methodist institution dating back to 1876. According to their website, “Following the merger, Huston-Tillotson College became the sole provider of higher education for African-Americans in Central Texas until the landmark case of Brown v. Board of Education (1954), which launched the period of desegregation.”
In 2017 the university reported an enrollment of just over a thousand students, and the campus has mobilized the student body to invest in the neighborhood in various ways over the last few years through hosting events such as the Asset-Based Community Development workshop in the summer of 2015.
Read more of the university’s history here.