August 30, 2018
Mueller names new streets and landmarks in honor of people who have done amazing things, particularly “firsts” in our city’s history. Mueller’s newest park namesake, Mary Elizabeth Branch has a powerful history.
Mary Elizabeth Branch was born in 1881 to parents who were former slaves. In 1930, she became the president of Austin's Tillotson College, which later merged with Samuel Huston College to become Huston-Tillotson University.
During her tenure, she won accreditation for the institution, thus becoming the first black female president of a senior college accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. Her leadership was instrumental in successfully transforming Tillotson from a women’s junior college into a four-year, co-educational undergraduate school with an “A” rating. Under her stewardship, the school constructed new buildings, renovated old ones, expanded the library, doubled the size of the faculty, and instituted more rigorous hiring credentials.
Branch truly stood up for those around her, working to improve the lives of African Americans in Texas at the time, and paving the way for future generations. She received recognition from Lyndon B. Johnson (LBJ), during his first term as a congressman. LBJ appointed her to the Negro Advisory Board of the National Youth Administration during the Great Depression. She was also president of the Austin chapter of the NAACP and helped establish the United Negro College Fund, which has paved the way for so many students to achieve academic success over the years.
Mueller is proud to name its seventh public park after Mary Elizabeth Branch. The park is located on Aldrich Street, between Garcia and Philomena Streets.
Come on out and get to know Mueller. To get acquainted with the full vision for Mueller, please visit our information center, Mueller Central, located at 4550 Mueller Blvd. Click here for address and operating hours.
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For more information regarding Mueller's Design Book, click here.