Memorial services have been set for longtime educator Charles Akins, a pioneer in the Austin school district’s integration efforts.
Visitation is from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday at Wesley United Methodist Church, 1164 San Bernard St. The funeral service is at 11 a.m. Friday at the same location. Services are open to the public.
Akins, for whom Akins High School in South Austin was named, died March 29. He was 84.
Akins was the first black teacher in an integrated high school in the Austin district, and was the district’s first black principal. He worked in the district for 41 years, then volunteered for more than a decade after that.
Akins became the first black teacher at Johnston High School, now Eastside Memorial, when the district began to integrate it’s faculty in 1964. He was the first dean of boys at Johnston, then an assistant principal at Old Anderson and Lanier high schools. He began the first black principal when he took the helm at the newly desegregated Anderson High School, the focal point of court-mandated integration in West Austin. He told the American-Statesman that he would stand in front of the school every morning to meet the buses, in attempt to prevent the almost daily fights between both black students from East Austin and the Anglo students who lived closer to the campus in all-white neighborhoods.
He concluded his education career as an associate superintendent, but continued to volunteer for years, and attended every Akins graduation.
Here is an in-depth profile of Akins from the American-Statesman’s 2013 archives.