Juanita Craft House

Juanita Craft House Juanita Craft House

  Juanita Craft Juanita Craft
Photographs courtesy of the Craft House, City of Dallas

Juanita J. Craft (1902-1985), civil rights organizer, public servant

Juanita Craft lived in this modest, one-story wood frame house for 50 years, and both Lyndon 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 1918 Craft's mother died of tuberculosis when a San Angelo, Texas, sanitarium refused treatment because of her race. Seven years later, Craft moved to Dallas, where she worked as a hotel maid and later, a dressmaker. In 1935 Craft joined the NAACP, and in the years that followed, she started 182 rural NAACP chapters. In her frequent train trips around the state, she consistently sat in "whites only" sections, refusing to move. 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. Afterwards, 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 the next two years working to improve the status of Hispanic and Native Americans.

The Juanita J. Craft Civil Rights House is located at 2618 Warren Avenue in Dallas' Wheatley Place Historic District. The house is open by appointment. For information please call the City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs at 214-670-3687.

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