August 29, 2013
In 1928 the city of Austin designated East Austin as an official “Negro District,” generating years of racial discrimination. Conversely, this forced segregation also allowed for a rich African American culture to be created in the East End neighborhoods. Within the historic community was a vibrant art scene unique to the east side area. All black blues bars lined up the streets, creating the most lively blues scene in Texas. Featuring world-famous musicians like B.B. King, Ike & Tina Turner, and Bobby “Blue” Bland, the East side business thrived.
Around 1971 however, desegregation in Austin began and with it came the death of the blues scene on the east side. Many blues artists still perform around Austin today, some more successfully than others. There still remains a vibrant art scene in the East End to be explored including visual, performing, and musical arts.