Mayor Jeffrey M. Friedman Austin Video Political History

“One generation that has created great change cannot pass on to its descendants the excitement, exhilaration, fear or passion of its heady times. It may only pass on the results. However, it does have an obligation to share with those that reap the benefits of its sacrifices an understanding of the price paid for the better life its descendants live.”

The Mayor Jeffrey M. Friedman Austin Video Political History Project was brought to the Center by ACC professors who were deeply concerned about “losing” one of the critical periods in Austin’s political history because no one had recorded it accurately. They were also interested in preserving this history in a way that current and future students would find engaging.


The period the professors chose, from 1965-2000, was not only a period of rapid expansion and demographic change for Austin, Texas, but it was also a time of tremendous political transition and reform.

In 1965, Austin had approximately 220,000 people. By 2000, Austin had nearly tripled in size to 656,565 people. This explosive growth was one of the issues that shaped the politics of the aforementioned 35 years. However, other factors like:

• The emergence of the political power of Austin’s minority communities
   as well as the Republican Party,
• The birth, growth and rise to power of the environmental movement,
• Integration,
• The rapid expansion and transition of the school district from majority
   white to majority minority,
• The rise and collapse of a new indigenous business community,
• and the periodic dominance of a progressive political faction in a former
   Confederate capital

were all issues that made these three and a half decades one of the most dynamic periods in the political history of Austin. This period saw the election of Austin’s first African-American and Hispanic school board members, city council members, state legislators, county officials, and the only minority-state senator ever. It also saw the election of the first countywide and district Republican office holders since Reconstruction.

By 2000, Austin had become a thriving vibrant high-tech Mecca built around more than one major center of higher education, and was the capitol of the second largest state in the Union. Austin politics had to change…and it did. The JMF APV History Project will show how the changes occurred.