By Jack Orloff
Voices rang out as alumni of the original L.C. Anderson High School sang the Yellow Jackets theme song in tandem on Saturday in black and gold shirts with their school mascot.
This was the scene at the L.C. Anderson historical marker unveiling Saturday. The historical marker commemorates the last location of Austin's only Black public high school, which closed 50 years ago.
"L.C. Anderson was like a home to us," said alumna Estelle Solomon Brooks, class of 1958. "It was like a family to us, so to have this event today will serve as memories for our generations to come for our grandchildren and great-grandchildren."
The ceremony began with speakers including superintendent Stephanie Elizalde, Congressman Lloyd Doggett, Trustee Latisha Anderson and L.C Anderson Alumni. Alumnus James Robinson sang “A Change is Gonna Come.”
The original L.C Anderson was opened as an all-Black high school in 1889 before it was closed by the school board in 1971 following a federal district court ruling for desegregation.
“Wherever we went, the black and gold stood out," said Johnnie Rucker Van Dyke, class of 1954. "We were the yellow jackets, and no one can take that from us, and we claim it with pride.”
Over its 82 year history, the school taught students who now live throughout the country but have stayed in touch through alumni organizations.
"The Yellow Jackets legacy will live on through the sands of time," said Jo Ann Foster Lewis, class of 1968. "Through this effort, a new generation will be made aware of our school's rich history, and future students that will be attending the school here will be a part of our legacy as well.”
Miguel Garcia, principal of Eastside Early College High School, said the new school will honor and continue the legacy by featuring dedicated spaces discussing the school’s history.
"There's a lot of spirit here, there is a lot of history, and a lot of pride that we will continue through our students for the future of Austin ISD and all of East Austin," Garcia said. "We hope to continue to make memories. This is another chapter, and we are excited to welcome our students home in August."
Byron Miller, a decedent of L.C. Anderson, said that the school's recognition will be honored not only in Austin but all of Texas.
"L.C. Anderson continues to be a legacy with the great Austin area and even all of Texas," Miller said. "There will always be people who remember and continue to live on through the legacy that has brought all these people together today."