This Labor Day weekend, Six Square invites cultural enthusiasts, foodies and those just looking to have a fun and relaxing time to the third District Days Celebration. The event is a two-day celebration of the African American culture and history of East Austin and includes a free, family-friendly festival and the inaugural East Austin Stroll.
Each event illustrates a unique aspect of East Austin’s story by mixing history and contemporary expressions of Black culture. The sites contain stories that organizers say deserve to be told, and Six Square invites the public to keep the history of the neighborhood alive against the backdrop of its constant and inevitable change.
Six Square, a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and celebration of African American culture. Founded in 2013, Six Square develops programs to celebrate the history of the first black cultural district in Texas, located in a six-square mile area just east of downtown Austin.
“Our work is two-fold: it is essential that we preserve stories of the people, places and traditions that contributed to the dynamic story that is Austin’s story,” said Nefertitti Jackmon, executive director of Six Square. “We also work to celebrate the great cultural expressions of African American life.”
On Saturday, Sept. 2, Six Square hosts a community festival at the historic Downs Field, located at 2816 E. 12th St. from 4-9 p.m. Performers are Ogden Payne, Chris Omenihu, DJ Kay Cali, Bandan Koro: Dallas African Drum & Dance Ensemble, Tree G, CJ Edwards and the Funk Fellowship and Riders Against the Storm. There’s also local food and retail vendors, kid’s activities and much more free of charge.
On Sunday, Sept. 3, from 1-6:30 p.m., the public can take the inaugural East Austin Stroll and be immersed into six uniquely curated experiences reflective of the rich traditions that gave birth to the uniqueness of the African American legacy in Central East Austin. Sites included in the East Austin Stroll are Six Square Art Gallery, E. 12th Street Business Corridor, Carver Museum and Cultural Center, Oakwood Cemetery, African American Heritage Plaza, and Huston-Tillotson University.
“We are really excited to bring this cultural experience to Austin,” adds Jackmon. “The East Austin Stroll allows us to highlight the cultural gems that remain in the District, and it allows others to share in the effort to celebrate and preserve the cultural traditions of Black Austin’s past and present.”
Six culturally significant destinations are brought to life through artistic performances (Spectrum Theater), art exhibits (curated by the Austin History Center), silent parties, multimedia displays (Elizabeth from the Internets, Fum Fum Ko, Chris Omenihu and Beth Araya’s new trailer for We Are Here), music (Tje Austin) and much more. Enjoy and sample food from the African Diaspora, including Soul, Creole and Caribbean cuisines. The night ends on the extravagant lawn of Austin’s oldest college, Huston-Tillotson University, with performances by Tresa Jerell (Houston) and the Boss Street Brass Band.
The six sites included in the East Austin Stroll are: Six Square, the George Washington Carver Museum, Oakwood Cemetery, the African American Heritage Facility, Huston-Tillotson University and the E. 12th Street Business Corridor. General admission tickets are $35 (includes samples of alcoholic beverages and food, and entertainment); VIP Access tickets are $49 (includes samples of alcoholic beverages and food, entertainment, a guided tour of the district and reserved seating at the final event). Purchase your tickets at www.sixsquare.org or call 512-505-8738. This is a 21+ event.