Brenda Malik

Brenda Malik is a former president of the Rogers Washington Holy Cross Neighborhood Association. She attended the historic LC Anderson High School from 1966-1969 and is an administrative specialist at the cultural Arts Division/City of Austin.

Interview Highlights

Tight knit community

“It’s a homegrown community, so I’ve always been involved. Our mothers started the association as soon as we got here. So this community was really built with a lot of black professionals at the time. Teachers, nurses, elected officials. And so those women were the driving force. Or creating the Neighborhood Association, and they go from house to house, with the monthly meetings.

So it was a party every month, and the neighbors would get together, and the children would watch and see what they were doing. I was one of those that grew up in the association, and I became more active when I became an adult. Oh, these women were civic minded, and they were always doing something with their children.

For instance, they would take us down to the skating rink and protest the segregation of the skating rink that they couldn’t take their children in. Went to Zilker Pool and protested there too, or they picked us up and took us to the movies. It was always a communal kind of thing.”

Civil Rights in Austin

“We had quite a few leaders over here in this neighborhood come from this neighborhood, including Mr. Snell, who was the first black Travis County Commissioner. We also had the first black mayor of Dallas come from this neighborhood.

Ms. Kirk’s son, Ronald Kirk, was the first black mayor of Dallas, Texas, and went on to become appointed as an ambassador in Obama’s presidency. And they became good friends as well. So, it was a bunch of leaders, because we had the professionals come from this area. And like today, it’s hard for black and brown people to get to these meetings and put that pressure on our elected officials because we’re working.

So it was a little bit easier for professional folks in this area to take up that mantle and fight for civil rights. But this whole community has been active in civil rights here in Austin. King Tears, mortuary, is part of the legacy of this neighborhood. And Dr. King lives also on the street over.

Dr. King was the past president of Houston Tillerson College, he was co-founder of King Tears mortuary. But yes, he’s a descendant of one of our presidents. Most definitely L. C. Anderson High. It was an iconic building. It was the only high school that Blacks were allowed to go to before integration.”

Full Transcript