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 spring, 2015 in Dallas. Check back here for dates, program details and Eventbrite registration. 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.
Historian Bruce A. Glasrud will then deliver the keynote presentation at the luncheon from 11:45 am – 1:00 pm addressing “Anti-Black Violence in 20th Century Texas”.
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.