In Honor of

Juanita J. Craft

The 1300 sq. ft. one-story frame house was the home of Juanita J. Craft, one of Dallas´ most significant civil rights figures and the second African American woman to serve on the Dallas City Council. Programming at the Juanita Craft Civil Rights House is coordinated by the South Dallas Cultural Center of the City of Dallas’ Office of Cultural Affairs. Juanita J. Craft lived in this house for 50 years, and both Lyndon B. Johnson and Martin Luther King, Jr., visited her there to discuss the future of the civil rights movement. Craft played a crucial role in integrating two universities, the 1954 Texas State Fair, and Dallas theaters, restaurants, and lunch counters. As a tribute to her anti-discrimination efforts, Dallas named a city park and recreation center after her.

 

In her frequent train trips around the state, she consistently sat in “whites only” sections, refusing to move. When she first moved to Dallas, Craft worked at the Aldophus Hotel as a maid and later, a dressmaker. She moved into the home at 2618 Warren Avenue after the death of her husband.  In 1935, Craft joined the NAACP, and in the years that followed, she started 182 rural NAACP chapters. Craft joined demonstrations against the segregated University of Texas Law School and North Texas State University, each resulting in successful lawsuits in 1950 and 1955. Afterward, she opened a dropout preparation program in Dallas. Craft also served as a delegate to the White House Conference on Children and Youth and as a member of the Governor’s Human Relations Committee. In 1975, at the age of 73, she was elected to the Dallas City Council, where she spent two terms working to improve the status of Hispanic and Native Americans.

 

Text adapted from the National Park Service

dallasculture.org

 

Other resources: (links)

National Park Service- Biography

2019 Historic Structures Report

2019 Community Engagement & Governance Report

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Facts about Juanita J. Craft

She was a NAACP leader, former Democratic Precinct Chair, the first black woman in Texas history to be deputized as a poll tax collector, former Dallas City Councilmember
 

Mrs. Craft was a tireless advocate for desegregation, equal pay for blacks, equality in health care, and other civil rights issues.
 

She moved to the 2618 Warren Avenue home in 1950 when racial tension in the neighborhood was high. There were 11 bombings in the surrounding area from 1950-51 alone.
 

Despite this, her home became a meeting place for African American youth, whom Craft educated on civil rights issues and believed would shape the future of the civil rights struggle. Civil rights leaders such as Thurgood Marshall and politicians such as Presidents Lyndon B. Johnson and Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter also visited Juanita Craft in this home. The house, built in 1925, is a Craftsman Bungalow style.