Thursday, January 27, 2022

City Council Honors Volma Overton, Sr. in Park Renaming

 Lamar Beach at Town Lake Metro Park to be renamed after Volma Overton, Sr.

Today Austin City Council voted to rename Lamar Beach at Town Lake Metro Park ( to Volma Overton, Sr. Shores at Town Lake Metro Park to recognize the civil rights leader’s legacy and his contributions toward creating a more equitable and inclusive Austin. Council Members Tovo, Natasha Harper-Madison, Pio Renteria, Leslie Pool, and Mayor Pro Tem Alison Alter sponsored the item.

A lifelong champion and advocate for civil rights and racial equality, Volma Overton, Sr. helped lead the effort to desegregate the Austin Independent School District; served as president of the Austin chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP); and organized numerous demonstrations and actions to combat racial inequality, systemic racism, and institutional inequities. Overton was laid to rest in 2005 with Military Honors at the Texas State Cemetery alongside judges, senators, legislators, congressional leaders, governors and other legendary Texans.

“Volma Overton, Sr. is a treasured figure in the history of Austin’s fight for civil rights, and his memory will be celebrated by Austinites for generations as they enjoy this park,” said Council Member Kathie Tovo, the item’s sponsor. “This recognition will highlight and amplify Volma Overton, Sr.’s commitment to a better and more just Austin as well as remind the broader community of the additional work and restorative actions that must be done to honor Volma Overton, Sr.’s legacy and vision for a more equitable and inclusive Austin for all.”
Mr. Overton, Sr.’s granddaughter, Kim Overton, said, “As an Austinite and an entrepreneur inspired by his consistent work in the community for equal rights and opportunities for minorities, I'm incredibly excited that Volma Overton, Sr.’s legacy will be kept alive in the heart of Austin. It's easy to forget the work those before us did to help improve our communities, but now residents of Austin, newbies or natives, will have a beautiful reminder of this gentle leader’s infinite passion to improve the lives of Austin’s black and minority residents.”
Council Member Natasha Harper-Madison said, “The legacy of Volma Overton, Sr. is immeasurable. His courageous leadership helped close the book on Jim Crow in Austin and continues to serve as the gold standard for community service across our city. I’m so proud to join my colleagues and our constituents in giving him and his family this overdue honor that will elevate his undying memory for generations to come.”
Council Member Sabino “Pio” Renteria said, “It is with great honor that we remember Volma Overton, Sr., a champion of racial justice here in Austin, and across the country. Mr. Overton, Sr. played a critical role in the Civil Rights Movement, advocated for equality in Austin’s schools, and established life changing mentoring programs for our students in underrepresented neighborhoods. We are proud to celebrate Mr. Overton, Sr.’s accomplishments through the renaming of Lamar Beach to ‘Volma Overton Sr. Shores at Town Lake Metro Park.’”
Mayor Pro Tem Member Alison Alter said, “Volma Overton, Sr. was a champion for civil rights, desegregation and many other important community issues. I'm delighted to see his memory and legacy honored.”
Council Member Leslie Pool said, “Volma Overton , a hero for Austin and our surrounding communities; his work to desegregate and open our public schools, places of worship, and recreational spaces to all will now be recognized and celebrated in a very prominent place in our city.”