From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Austin, Helen Cloud

(born: May 2, 1925  -  died: February 22, 2016) Helen Cloud Austin, from Harlan, KY, was the second African American student to attend the University of Louisville Kent School of Social Work, from which she graduated in 1953. She began working at Cook County Hospital in Chicago, IL.

By 1957, Austin was in Cincinnati, OH, where she  become Chief of the Outpatient Department at Longview State Hospital. In 1962, her husband's job took the family to San Antonio, TX. With the help of Congressman Henry B. Gonzalez, she became the first African American professional hired at the San Antonio State Hospital, a mental health facility in Texas.

In 1983, Austin was the San Antonio Social Worker of the Year and the Texas State Social Worker of the Year. She was inducted into the San Antonio Hall of Fame in 1985. Austin retired from the hospital in 1987. Two years later, she was included in Salute to Black Women Who Make Things Happen by the National Council of Negro Women.

After her retirement, Austin continued to be active with several organizations, including serving as president of the Board of Directors for the San Antonio Halfway House, Inc., starting the Senior Citizen Ministry at St. Paul United Methodist Church, and continuing her work with Crosspoint, a nonprofit that provides reentry residential services for ex-offenders, an organization that Austin co-founded in 1963. She was a member of Delta Sigma Theta.

Helen Cloud Austin was the daughter of Tip and Ellen Cloud. The Helen Cloud Austin Papers are at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Additional information about Crosspoint and other updates were provided by Joan Cheever. See the Helen Cloud Austin Obituary @ See also "Helen Cloud Austin" at the NASW Foundation website.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Harlan County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Jefferson County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Harlan, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
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Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Austin, Helen Cloud,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed June 23, 2024,

Last modified: 2021-09-15 17:22:20