The area of town known as Clarksville was once a location of slave quarters for some of the enslaved people who worked for Governor Elisha Pease. In 1865, after the emancipation in Texas, Governor Pease gave some of his land to former enslaved workers, hoping they would continue to work on his property as freedmen.

The Texas law at the time allowed ex-slaves to create Freedman Communities. If the land was occupied and maintained for 6 years the person or family could own the land, they either settled on or was given to them. So in 1871 Clarksville was officially established. Clarksville was a 2-acre lot given to a freed slave Charles Clark after emancipation.

In the 1960’s and 70’s Austin’s rapidly growing hippy scene which ultimately gave birth to the music scene of long-haired folk/country music  moved into Clarksville because of the cheap rent.

When Mopac was built it greatly affected this rural tight-knit black community.

Watch this video produced and directed by in George Leo Nelson in 1970 to get an idea of what the now trendy Clarksville used to be like: Click here

Click here to watch the video of musician Otis Gibbs remembering Clarksville

Learn more about Freedmen’s Colonies click here.

Today the neighborhood has been gentrified and the homes are sold for over one million dollars.