Austin Black Freedom Communities

Please take a moment to watch the concept teaser trailer above. Click "Read More" below to learn more about the project. We've started production! Read updates on our site! Over 387 people have donated so far! We have $60,000 left to raise!

Funmi Ogunro - Director/Editor

My name is Funmi Ogunro. I am a native Austinite and filmmaker, and I’m launching the production of my first feature-length documentary about Austin Black Freedom Communities. I have decided to make this film because many people are unaware of the rich history of Black people in Austin. It’s time for these stories to be told. 

How YOU can help!

With your help, we are raising $100,000. Your support through this campaign will fund our Interview Production Fund: to film interviews with historians, archaeologists, native Austinites, and people with direct ties to Austin Black Freedom Communities. Thank you for your giving and for spreading the word!

Brackenridge Elementary. South Side Freedom Community - Early 1900s
[Photo from Austin History Center]

Like most people in Austin, I grew up not knowing the history of Black people in our city. Just a few years ago, I learned of over 13 Black Freedom Communities that were part of our city’s establishment after the Civil War ended in 1865. Clarksville, Wheatville, and Southside — to name a few.  

Elementary school in the Clarksville community - 1900s
[Photo from Austin History Center]

In Freedom Communities, emancipated African Americans built lives in rights-protected areas, often next to the plantation where they had been held. They were followed by hundreds of emancipated African Americans from elsewhere who sought work, refuge, and missing family members. Here, thriving communities were built from the ground up, including Black schools, Black churches and Black stores. 

Robert Stanley 1863-1941 (right) - South Side community resident. Robert Stanley was a stone mason and laborer.

In the 1920s, these same people were displaced from the communities they built, because of discriminatory city mandates. Today, these same regions are some of Austin’s most prominent neighborhoods, and the legacy of Black people has been overlooked. 

Growing up, I did not know Austin’s Black history because it has not been well documented. Through this film, I am going to change that for future generations and bring light to the resilience of Black people, their resourcefulness in creating strong communities, and their important contribution to the development of the city of Austin, Texas.

Thank you for helping see this documentary get made so the history of Austin Black Freedom Communities is recorded and shared!


Projected completion date: Fall 2023

Pre-Production: December 2019 - December 2022

Documenting facts, stories, tracking ancestors

Finding, researching and contacting Interviewers

Pre-screening Interviewers

Archaeological Research 

Photo Research

Video Footage Research

Visiting Locations (Homes, Churches, Cemeteries)

Production: January 2023 - April 2023

Confirm location

Schedule shoots

 Film interviews with historians, archaeologists, native Austinites, and people with Austin Freedom Community roots

Post Production: May 2023 - October 2023

Assemble Rough Cut

Color grade and color correction

Develop animation

Develop motion graphics

Sound Design

Music Score

Assemble first cut 

Assemble Final Cut

Film Festival Circuit - Spring 2024 - Fall 2024

Meet the Team!

Stephanie L. Lang- Community Curator

Rachel E. Winston - Archivist

Juan A. Izaguirre - Cinematographer

Tamar Price - Producer

Edward D. Floyd - Associate Producer

Odera Anyasinti - Research Associate

Cullen Cooper - Research Associate

Hannah Roberts - Fundraising Consultant

Akin Ogunro - Production Tech

Community Screening & Engagement

To further engage and pre-expose potential audiences, we will have a community screening in Austin, Texas and include key personnel and partners. The community screening will allow for a greater discussion about the documentary and touch on topics relating to the history of Black people in Austin and the future of Black people in Austin. The screening will take place in 2022.

Marketing & Distribution

Once the film is complete, we will submit film to numerous national and international film festivals. After the festival run, we will move forward with securing national distribution.

Thank you for helping see this documentary get made so the history of Austin Black Freedom Communities is recorded and shared!

Thank you to our Partner - Six Square 

Thank You to our Community Partners

Thank you for helping see this documentary get made so the history of Austin Black Freedom Communities is recorded and shared!


  • Catherine Kelly
    • $20 
    • 24 d
  • Vincent Santos
    • $100 
    • 1 mo
  • john barr
    • $100 
    • 9 mos
  • Lexi Hill
    • $100 
    • 9 mos
  • Monica Green
    • $25 
    • 1 yr


Funmi Ogunro
Pflugerville, TX

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