Texas Historical Marker Dedication

The Texas Historical Commission marker dedication ceremony for the Juanita Craft Civil Rights House will be held on October 3rd 2015 in conjunction with the state convention of The Texas State Conference of NAACP Branches .

Check back here in early May for complete details.

Come prepared to celebrate the life and legacy of Juanita Craft (1902-1985) – a remarkable organizer, youth advocate, humanitarian and universalist who took up the mantle of leadership during the crucible years of the modern civil rights movement and left in her wake a more humane society. This event is hosted by the Texas State Conference of NAACP Branches, blackpast.org – the premier online portal for African-American and Africana history and culture, and The Juanita Craft Foundation.

Craft Reconsidered: Winter 2015

Craft Reconsidered: The Noble Life hosted by The Juanita Craft Foundation, The Texas State Conference of NAACP Branches, BlackPast.org and others will be conducted in winter, 2015 in Dallas. Check back here for dates, program details and Eventbrite registration access. This symposium will bring together individuals from political, civic, labor and faith organizations to provide vivid, first-person insights into working with Juanita Craft and her contemporaries in conjunction with historians and journalists providing commentary and perspective.

The Craft Reconsidered weekend of fellowship and exploration will begin with a dinner program on a Thursday evening entitled “The Life and legacy of W.J. Durham: Lawyer. Crusader. Gentleman.” The compelling history and contemporary ramifications of Durham and his colleagues work on the Smith v Allwright (April 3 1944), Sweatt v Painter (June 5 1950) and McLaurin v Oklahoma (June 5 1950) Supreme Court rulings which set the stage for Brown v Topeka (May 17 1954) will be addressed. Juanita Craft, A. Maceo Smith and their peers in the Texas State Conference of NAACP Branches were deeply involved in these cases crafted by Thurgood Marshall and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. The central role of Texas in the mid-century Freedom Movements is essentially absent from the national historical narrative, and this event is focused on re-balancing this oversight.

The formal symposium will commence the following Saturday from 8:45 am – 11:15 am with The Craft of Politics: “We will change this!”, a moderated roundtable comprised of former and current political and appointed officeholders and executive staff members who worked directly with Juanita Craft in the political sphere. A panel of journalists, historians and political scientists will provide commentary.

The luncheon address will address a compelling subject from the 20th Century Texas Freedom Movements.

The first afternoon session running from 1:30 pm – 3:00 pm is “The fight is on!”: Craft, the NAACP and the Campaigns for First-Class Citizenship in the Texas Region is a moderated roundtable with members of the NAACP, NAACP Youth Councils and other organizations who worked with Juanita Craft in her battle against Jim Crow and its nuanced heirs. The second session, “Call & Response: The Faith Communities of Texas in the Age of Jim Crow” addresses the response of Jewish, Roman Catholic, Protestant and Unitarian congregations to American apartheid. Panelists in both sessions will be joined by journalists and scholars providing commentary.

In convening this broad mix of participants within the structure of a formal seminar, the organizers seek to enrich the primary historical record and inspire more scholarship in 20th century Texas Freedom Movements. Proceedings of Craft Reconsidered will be filmed and made available at http://www.juanitacraft.org.

Concurrent with the seminar, oral histories with those who knew Juanita Craft will be conducted.

We look forward to your joining us in Dallas as we journey together through this inspiring history.

I had no children so I adopted the world. – Juanita Craft

Standing on the shoulders of those who came before her, and stoking the fire for those who would follow, Juanita Jewel Craft (1902-1985) was an iconic civil rights and social justice reformer in the long-battle for first-class citizenship for African-American and other oppressed communities across 20th century Texas. Born forty years after The Emancipation Proclamation, Craft took up the mantle of leadership during the crucible years of the modern civil rights movement and left in her wake a more humane society. She vigorously advocated a post-racial vision for America, one of the earliest public figures in this region to do so.

The ability to surmount cultural, ethnic and social barriers and gather people together on the common field of their humanity was Juanita Craft’s special gift. A unique and beloved public figure, she bequeathed both her home at 2618 Warren Avenue in South Dallas and an extensive historical estate to the public so that future generations may come to understand the power of service to community and nation by individual citizens who rise to meet the continuing challenges of social inequality and economic suppression.    

The Juanita Craft Foundation honors our namesake primarily in three ways.

The Juanita Craft Civil Rights House and the adjacent Craft Memorial Garden in the Wheatley Place National Register District in Dallas, is owned by the city of Dallas under the Office of Cultural Affairs. The 1920’s era Craftsman bungalow, the residence of Mrs. Craft from 1950 to 1985, was the organizational epicenter of major social justice campaigns in support of mid-century Texas Freedom Movements. The Craft House is only one of a handful of sites across the United States memorializing women activists from the 20th century civil rights and social justice movements. One of the Craft Foundation’s primary activities is to fund a conservancy insuring the long-term sustainability of this historic site.     

The second focus of the Foundation is designing, sponsoring and conducting signature conferences, symposia and roundtables addressing fascinating yet understudied subjects within the field of 20th century Texas Freedom Movements. A number of events are being actively planned for the 2014-2015 program year.

The third initiative is an ambitious archival collection program modeled on the Institute of Oral History at the University of Texas at El Paso. The Juanita Craft & Lulu White Oral/Materials History Consortium will focus on collecting and accessioning mid-century Texas Freedom Movement materials with permanent conveyance to a major archive. 

The Juanita Craft Foundation, her partners and collaborators are committed to deepening the current historiography, identifying areas for inquiry, broadening the availability of primary materials and encouraging scholarship in movement studies across the Texas region. The Foundation endeavors to encourage more accounts in this field of study for incorporation into the broader national account. In so doing, we seek to enrich the constantly evolving master narrative of the civil rights and social justice histories referenced by academics, journalists and informed generalists across the United States. 

Join us on our journey through this inspiring history.