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Montopolis school headed toward future as a musem

Friday, September 29, 2017 by Elizabeth Pagano

A last-minute save for the Montopolis Negro School moved forward Thursday. City Council voted unanimously in favor of a plan to that would use Hotel Occupancy Tax funds to buy and preserve the school as a museum. (Council Member Ellen Troxclair was absent for the vote.) Though everyone who spoke on Thursday supported the plan to buy the land and turn it into a museum, they also warned against “rewarding” the owner of the land by paying too much for 500 Montopolis Drive. “This is some of the hardest work I’ve done during my time in Austin,” said Dave Cortez, who is a resident of Montopolis in addition to being an organizer with the Sierra Club. “It’s somewhat ironic that we are at a point now where we’ve set up a person who has treated us with disrespect every step of the way to make a ton of money. … That is not just.” Council Member Ora Houston also aired her own concerns. “I am the only black sitting City Council (member) here, so when things come up I’m offended I can’t weigh in on them because it’s not in my district. I’ve lived in Austin for over 70 years now and anything that has to do with the historic value and fabric for Americans of African descent in this community I can weigh in on,” she said. “I hope this is a beginning for us to be able to heal and for us to move forward and support this project in a meaningful way.”

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