Fault Lines: Portraits of East Austin
East Austin, just across Interstate 35 from Austin, Texas’s capital city, is a historically working-class neighborhood that in recent years has become an arts district and hotbed for real estate developers targeting a young urban population. The shops and restaurants that for decades served Latino and African American residents are being crowded out by coffee shops, cocktail bars, and upscale bakeries hoping to attract newer residents. The resulting tensions, part of a trend debated in cities across the country, have received national media attention.
After years of observing the fragmentation of east Austin’s Latino and African American communities, photographer John Langmore began to chronicle the historic neighborhood and its residents. His aim was to capture the gentrifying neighborhood’s unique nature and to make Texans aware of the people and places negatively affected by the state’s growth.
Fault Lines features more than a hundred color and black-and-white photographs taken between 2006 and 2010, during which time Langmore was fully aware that the window for capturing the east Austin community was rapidly closing. Indeed today many of the neighborhood places, and even the people, have been lost to development and increasing rents and property taxes.
The book features a foreword by Michael King, a longtime political reporter for the Austin Chronicle; essays by east Austin resident Wilhelmina Delco, Austin’s first African American elected official and a ten-term member of the Texas House of Representatives, and Johnny Limón, a sixty-six-year resident of east Austin and a prominent member of the neighborhood’s Latino community; and an epilogue by Langmore.
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