Influential black newspaper pioneer and
Born in 1898, Austin became known for his work as a journalist and civil rights activist. He gained notoriety in the 1950s and 1960s for his influence on the
Austin graduated in 1921 from the
By 1927, he had purchased the paper and shifted his editorial focus to civil rights. He published opinion pieces and news stories about the need for racial equality that challenged discriminatory policies aimed at African Americans and other minorities. Austin often wrote about school integration as a means of achieving educational parity, as well as equity in school funding and unfair teacher hiring practices.
In 1933, Austin participated in a lawsuit filed on behalf NCCU student
The suit was eventually dismissed based on the judge's conclusion that the plaintiff's should have sought consideration of Hocutt's application regardless of race, instead of arguing that UNC was compelled to admit him. Nonetheless, it was the first legal challenge to educational segregation in the south and is widely considered the test case for Brown v.
In 1935, Austin helped organize the
Austin edited and published The Carolina Times until his death in 1971. The legacy of the prominent newspaper lives on through Austin's grandson,