Juanita J. Craft
Born February 9, 1902 in Round Rock, Juanita Craft, a granddaughter of slaves, went on to become one of the most significant civil rights leaders in Texas. She was greatly affected by her mother's death from tuberculosis after being refused hospital treatment when there were no state hospitals for black Texans.
She attended Prairie View A&M and received a teaching certificate from Samuel Huston College (now Huston Tillotson University in Austin) and worked at the Adolphus Hotel in Dallas as a maid and a dressmaker.
In 1935, she joined the NAACP, where she became the Dallas NAACP membership chairman in 1942 and the Texas NAACP field organizer in 1946, establishing 182 NAACP chapters. In 1944, she became the first black woman in Dallas County to vote in a public election.
She worked to integrate the University of Texas Law School, North Texas State College (now University of North Texas), Dallas Independent School District, the Texas State Fair, and numerous theaters, restaurants, and lunch counters. As you can imagine, she consistently sat in “Whites Only” sections of trains on her trips across Texas and refused to move. Ms. Craft was so well-regarded that Lyndon Johnson and Martin Luther King, Jr. visited her in her home to discuss the future of the civil rights movement.