Join Austin Parks and Recreation for the Volma Overton, Sr. Beach Renaming Ceremony at Town Lake Metropolitan Park, 1003 West Cesar Chavez St., on Saturday, June 11 at 9:00 a.m. This is an outdoor park event, so please dress comfortably.
Volma Overton, Sr. was born in Southeast Travis County and served in the Marines during World War II, where he achieved the rank of lieutenant colonel. Soon after his service to our country concluded, he enrolled in Huston-Tillotson University where he received a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry, with a minor in Math.
Volma Overton, Sr.'s contributions to the City of Austin were critical and transformational. He was a lifelong champion and advocate for civil rights and racial equality. Such advocacy is captured in his leadership role at the National Alliance of Postal Workers, a union comprised of primarily African American maintenance and janitorial workers, where he served as president and advocated for racial equality and fairness in the postal system.
In 1962, he became president of the Austin Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). During his tenure, he organized numerous demonstrations and actions to combat racial inequality, systemic racism, and institutional inequities.
In 1964, he led successful advocacy efforts for the Austin City Council to sponsor an antidiscrimination ordinance and the constitution of the Human Rights Commission, which was tasked with reviewing discrimination complaints. In 1965, Volma Overton, Sr. marched alongside Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. in the Selma to Montgomery March.
Volma Overton. Sr.’s commitment to justice included reforming Austin and Central Texas’ local institutions. One of his many other accomplishments included desegregating the Austin Independent School District through a lawsuit he filed in 1970, which named his daughter, DeDra, as the lead plaintiff. Additionally, he fought alongside Boy Scout Troop #70 to integrate the swimming pool at Bastrop State Park in 1963.
Volma Overton’s, Sr.’s philanthropic efforts included a mentoring program for youth at Oak Springs Elementary, as well as the conversion of the Overton House into a community center for African Americans in Austin.
Volma Overton, Sr. received accolades and awards for his pioneering civil rights work including NAACP Arthur B. DeWitty Award, The Villager newspaper’s Austin Living Legends Award, and University of Texas LBJ Award for Leadership in Civil Rights.
Volma Overton, Sr. was laid to rest with military honors at the Texas State Cemetery alongside governors, senators, legislators, congressional leaders, judges and other legendary Texans. His contributions to Austin and Central Texas have been invaluable. He is an integral part of Austin’s history.