Austin (Tex.). Boards and Commissions. Human Rights Commission Records
An Inventory to the Collection
Boards and commissions are an established feature of Austin's municipal government. State, federal, and charter provisions establish several of the city's boards and commissions, but most result from the passage of ordinances. Boards and commissions address a multitude of topics, including planning, zoning, transportation, parks, libraries, and the airport. The influence and value of boards and commissions is significant because, by offering citizens an opportunity to participate in the city's governmental process, they lend a more diverse viewpoint for the city council to consider. A full list of the current City of Austin boards and commissions is available on the City of Austin website.
The Human Rights Commission of the city of Austin, TX, was initially established in 1964 as the Human Relations Commission, pursuant to city ordinance no. 640512-A. But because the members of the city council could not agree as to who should be appointed to the commission or how much power it should have, the commission was inactive from its creation. In 1966, the city council adopted a plan to contract with a private corporation that would handle the city's civil-rights matters. That non-profit entity was named the Austin Equal Citizenship Corporation (AECC).
In 1967, the city council again established the Human Relations Commission, pursuant to city ordinance no. 671005-B. The AECC was dissolved and, by the end of the year, twenty-five Austin citizens, including some who had been members of the AECC, were appointed to the Human Relations Commission. In 1988, the city effectively changed the commission's name to the Human Rights Commission, pursuant to city ordinance no. 880211-F, which "abolished" the Human Relations Commission and "established" the Human Rights Commission.
As of 2014, the commission is authorized, pursuant to city ordinance no. 2-1-148, to "secure for all individuals in the City freedom from discrimination because of race, color, disability, religion, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, or age." According to the commission's website, the primary goal of the commission "is to promote and enforce fair treatment of all individuals in the areas of employment, housing and public accommodations." Among its general duties, the commission "advises and consults with the city council on all matters involving racial, religious or ethnic discrimination" and "recommends to the City Council legislation designed to eliminate prejudice and discrimination." Its specific duties include protecting individuals against unlawful employment discrimination, housing discrimination, and discrimination in public accommodations, as well as protecting individuals living with HIV or AIDS against discrimination and protecting individuals living with disabilities against discrimination by the city or its contractors.
Austin Human Rights Commission Resources-- http://www.austintexas.gov/page/austin-human-rights-commission-resources (accessed on March 18, 2014)
The Code of the city of Austin, TX-- http://www.amlegal.com/nxt/gateway.dll/Texas/austin/thecodeofthecityofaustintexas?f=templates$fn=default.htm$3.0$vid=amlegal:austin_tx$anc=%20 (accessed on March 18, 2014)
Former city ordinance no. 640512-A (1964)-- http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/edims/document.cfm?id=41424(accessed on March 18, 2014)
Former city ordinance no. 671005-B (1967)-- http://www.austintexas.gov/edims/document.cfm?id=39116 (accessed on March 18, 2014)
Former city ordinance no. 880211-F (1988)-- http://www.austintexas.gov/edims/document.cfm?id=6409 (accessed on March 18, 2014)
The collection is comprised of 3 series: (1) the Administrative Records series (1989-2008), which contains meeting minutes of the Human Rights Commission and, for some years, an annual report published by the commission; (2) the Brochures series (1981), which includes braille brochures on equal-employment opportunities, fair housing, public accommodations, and human relations, as well as two non-braille brochures on public accommodations, all of which were disseminated by the Human Relations Commission; and (3) the Historical Materials series (1964), which includes a copy of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, an outline of specific provisions in that act, a letter and a questionnaire that were sent to the Human Relations Commission from Howard W. Rogerson of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, and six letters sent to the commission from African-American residents of Austin--each letter states that the resident was not permitted to bowl at one of two local bowling establishments (the "Dart" Bowling Alley and Austin Bowl-O-Rama) because of his or her race.
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The Austin History Center (AHC) is the owner of the physical materials in the AHC collections and makes available reproductions for research, publication, and other uses. Written permission must be obtained from the AHC before any publication use. The AHC does not necessarily hold copyright to all of the materials in the collections. In some cases, permission for use may require seeking additional authorization from the copyright owners. Consult repository for more details.
Austin (Tex.). Boards and Commissions. Human Rights Commission Records (AR.1991.057). Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, Texas.
Transferred to the Austin History Center in accordance with the City of Austin Records Control Schedule.
Finding aid prepared by Molly Hults/2009. Revised and encoded by Ashley Adair/2011. Revised and encoded by Roger Simon/2014.
Detailed Description of the Collection