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Bobby William Austin

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Information about Bobby William Austin

Profile image of Bobby William Austin

Profession

Category:
CivicMakers
Occupation(s):
Foundation Chief Executive
Foundation Executive

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Gray
Favorite Food:
Fried Chicken
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Ocean
Favorite Quote:
Social Infrastructure

Birthplace

Born:
12/29/1944
Birth Location:
Jonesville, Kentucky

Profession

Category:
CivicMakers
Occupation(s):
Foundation Chief Executive
Foundation Executive

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Gray
Favorite Food:
Fried Chicken
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Ocean
Favorite Quote:
Social Infrastructure

Birthplace

Born:
12/29/1944
Birth Location:
Jonesville
See how Bobby William Austin is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Foundation executive Bobby William Austin was born in Jonesville, Kentucky on December 29, 1944. His father, Herschel, worked as a porter on the L&N Railroad, and his mother, Mary, was a homemaker. His mother also instilled in him a passion that would remain with Austin throughout his life: literature. As a child, he would receive books for Christmas instead of toys, and he would carry them everywhere with him. After graduating from the High Street High School in Bowling Green, Kentucky, Austin went on to attend Western Kentucky University, also in Bowling Green, earning his B.A. degree in economics and sociology in 1966. From there, he attended Fisk University, earning his master’s degree in sociology in 1968 and then went on to earn his Ph.D. from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada in 1972.

After completing his doctoral studies, Austin relocated to Washington, D.C., where he became involved with a number of organizations. He was the founder and editor of the Urban League Review, and he also served as a partner with Austin Ford Associates, a Washington, D.C. based consulting firm. Following these positions, Austin became an executive assistant to the president of the University of the District of Columbia (UDC), and later served as an assistant to the UDC Board of Trustees and the late Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown. He has also worked as a speechwriter for former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Patricia Roberts Harris and the former mayor of Washington, D.C. Sharon Pratt Kelly. From 1986 until 1998, Austin was the program director for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

In 1997, Austin founded the Village Foundation, an organization dedicated to “repairing the breach” between African American males and the rest of society. Its mission is to engage African American young men and boys in American society, by reconnecting them first to their local communities and then to the larger society. One of the leading initiatives of the Village Foundation today is the Give a Boy a Book Day campaign. This program is designed to encourage reading and literacy in young African American men. He continues to serve there as the president and CEO.

Austin is active in a number of areas in addition to his work with the Village Foundation. He serves as the Mohatma M.K. Gandhi Fellow of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, and he serves on the boards of the National Housing Trust and the National Institute for Urban Wildlife. He is also the co-author of Repairing the Breach with Andrew Young. Austin is also listed in Who’s Who in Black America, Outstanding Young Men of America and Men of Achievement among others.

See how Bobby William Austin is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Bobby William Austin's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Bobby William Austin lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Bobby William Austin talks about his mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Bobby William Austin talks about his maternal grandfather, and his mother's upbringing in Kentucky
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Bobby William Austin talks about how his parents met
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Bobby William Austin talks about his father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Bobby William Austin talks about meeting a white cousin at a work retreat
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Bobby William Austin talks about his paternal great-grandmother, Amanda Wormley
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Bobby William Austin describes his earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Bobby William Austin talks about his siblings
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Bobby William Austin describes the sounds, sights, and smells of his childhood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Bobby William Austin talks about his childhood in Jonesville, Kentucky
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Bobby William Austin talks about visiting Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Kentucky as a child
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Bobby William Austin talks about attending Delafield Elementary School in Warren County, Kentucky
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Bobby William Austin talks about the lessons he learned in elementary school
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Bobby William Austin talks about the lack of lights growing up in the country
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Bobby William Austin describes attending High Street High School in Bowling Green, Kentucky
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Bobby William Austin describes his high school English teacher, Mrs. Nichols
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Bobby William Austin talks about his high school activities
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Bobby William Austin talks about playing the piano and drums
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Bobby William Austin talks about his career aspirations and his decision to go to Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Kentucky
  • Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Bobby William Austin talks about attending Western Kentucky University as an undergraduate
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Bobby William Austin reflects on attending Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Kentucky
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Bobby William Austin talks about his graduate school experience at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Bobby William Austin talks about his professors at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Bobby William Austin describes the community at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Bobby William Austin talks about Howard Brotz, his mentor at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, pt. 1
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Bobby William Austin talks about Howard Brotz, his mentor at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, pt. 2
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Bobby William Austin talks about his doctoral studies at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Bobby William Austin talks about creating a national policy journal with the National Urban League
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Bobby William Austin talks about the atmosphere in Washington D.C. in the 1970s
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Bobby William Austin talks about the Urban League Review
  • Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Bobby William Austin talks about working at the National Endowment for the Humanities and for the Board of Higher Education
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Bobby William Austin talks about his career in the early 1980s
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Bobby William Austin talks about his W.K. Kellogg Leadership Network Fellowship and an incidence of racial profiling with his son
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Bobby William Austin talks about his programming for African American men and boys through the Kellogg Foundation
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Bobby William Austin talks about the Village Foundation
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Bobby William Austin talks about his entrance into youth work
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Bobby William Austin talks about his book, "The End of Race"
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Bobby William Austin talks about the difference between race and ethnicity
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Bobby William Austin talks about black stereotypes
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Bobby William Austin talks about race in the United States
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Bobby William Austin talks about the work of the Village Foundation
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Bobby William Austin talks about the importance of geography to cultural identity
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Bobby William Austin talks about racial classification in the United States
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Bobby William Austin describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Bobby William Austin reflects on his life
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Bobby William Austin talks about his family
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Bobby William Austin reflects upon his legacy
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Bobby William Austin reflects on his hopes for the coming century
  • Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Bobby William Austin reflects upon how he would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Bobby William Austin narrates his photographs