“Black Austin Matters" gives voice to daily experiences of Black Austinites
New podcast centers Black voices in conversations about race, culture and history
AUSTIN, Texas – Jan. 5, 2022 – “Black Austin Matters,” a new podcast from KUT and KUTX Studios, aims to give voice to the daily experiences of Black Austinites, while deepening mutual understanding throughout the broader Austin community.
“Black Austin Matters,” features Black Austinites, including civil rights activists, religious leaders, artists, businesspeople and citizens, discussing their lives and experiences as Black residents of Central Texas. The podcast is hosted by University of Texas at Austin professors Richard Reddick, Distinguished Service Professor and associate dean for Equity, Community Engagement and Outreach in the College of Education, and playwright Lisa B. Thompson, Bobby and Sherri Patton Professor of African and African Diaspora Studies, and Advisor to the Dean for Faculty Mentoring and Support in the College of Liberal Arts.
The inspiration for the podcast stems from the “Black Austin Matters” mural, created June 16, 2020, by the Austin Justice Coalition and Capitol View Arts, that put a local twist on the Black Lives Matters movement around the country.
Reddick tweeted about it, asking the question “Black Austin matters to whom?” Thompson replied, tagging @KUT.
“I immediately saw this as an opportunity for a larger conversation that extended beyond Black History Month or the media’s usual response to incidents of trauma and oppression that disproportionately affect Black people,” explained Thompson. “I feel that Black people should be at the center of that conversation. We want to create a virtual space for conversations among a diverse group of Black Austinites about what matters to us most.”
Reddick, who grew up in Austin and earned his undergraduate degree at The University of Texas at Austin, observed gentrification and the closing of East Austin institutions when he returned 12 years later.
“Seeing the changes led me to research the experiences of Black academics in Austin. I often tell my students that if we are studying equity, integration, or racial and economic disparities, we are studying Austin. We just happen to live here too,” said Reddick.
Thompson said the podcast also will explore the movement of Black people in and out of cities and ask, “How has Austin changed with the loss of so many Black Austinites?”
The first two episodes, “Wilhelmina and Exalton Delco” and “Chas Moore” are available now at KUT and KUTX Studios and wherever podcasts are available. New episodes will drop the first Wednesday of each month. Highlights of each 30-45-minute episode will be edited into 8-minute radio segments that will air on KUT 90.5, Austin’s NPR station. The radio segments will air every other Thursday, at 8:51 a.m., during “Morning Edition,” and 3:50 p.m., during “All Things Considered.”
Erin Geisler (512) 475-8071