Junior League of Dallas, City of Dallas Office of Arts & Culture, and Friends of the Juanita Craft Civil Rights House & Museum Joined Forces to Complete Restoration Efforts and Honor the Legacy of the Civil Rights Leader
DALLAS – May 10, 2023 – The Junior League of Dallas (JLD), City of Dallas Office of Arts and Culture, Friends of Juanita Craft Civil Rights House & Museum, and other community partners are pleased to announce the completed restoration and rehabilitation of the Juanita J. Craft Civil Rights House, honoring the legacy of the civil rights leader. Located in the Wheatley Place Historic District near Fair Park, the historic home will be open for public tours by appointment only beginning in late May 2023.
As a civil rights leader and politician, Juanita J. Craft devoted her life to civil rights. From 1950 until her death in 1985, her home served as command center for pivotal civil rights movements in Dallas, across the state, and beyond. Upon her death, Ms. Craft willed her home to the City of Dallas for civic use as a place where people of all backgrounds could visit and learn how to become a change-maker. The home is designated as a Dallas City Landmark Commission site, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and is a Texas Historic Landmark property.
“Dallas is a better city because of Juanita J. Craft’s extraordinary contributions to racial and social justice,” Dallas Mayor Eric L. Johnson said. “Ms. Craft was a remarkable civil rights icon, and it is an honor to reopen her historic home to the public. Dallas residents now and for generations to come will benefit from this restoration project. Thank you to our partners — including the Junior League of Dallas and the Friends of Juanita Craft Civil Rights House — for preserving Ms. Craft’s legacy.”
Since 1994, Ms. Craft’s home has operated as a public historical site. In 2018, the City of Dallas was in the process of turning the Juanita J. Craft Civil Rights House into an educational museum, but efforts came to a halt when a sprinkler pipe burst in the attic and flooded the home. In 2020, JLD announced that its centennial anniversary project would be a partnership with the City of Dallas to rehabilitate the Juanita J. Craft Civil Rights House.
JLD and its partners raised more than $1.4 million to complete the much-needed renovations to reopen the house to the public. JLD’s centennial gift covered both restoration costs and new educational opportunities for Dallas ISD students, including an educational coloring book and school curriculum showcasing Ms. Craft’s legacy.
“Ms. Craft’s vision and legacy demonstrates how the passion of one woman can reshape the heart of our city. The women of Junior League of Dallas continue to find inspiration in her tireless dedication to making Dallas an inclusive city for every one of its residents,” said JLD President Emily Somerville-Cabrera. “We are so proud of the partnerships with the City of Dallas and Friends of Juanita Craft to restore her and establish Ms. Craft’s home as a center of learning. The passion and partnerships that made this project possible will carry Ms. Craft’s legacy forward for years to come and bolster Junior League’s mission of developing the potential of women, improving the community, and supporting a commitment to the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion.”
Candace Thompson, director of the Friends of Juanita Craft Civil Rights House & Museum said, “The reopening of Ms. Craft’s home as a Civil Rights Museum is a jewel for this city. We are grateful to the many partners and collaborators who have made this possible and supported us to the finish line of preparing the house to be operational. We look forward to sustaining this house with viable programming inspiring new community leaders for positive change and ultimately establishing the house as a stop on the Civil Rights Trail. We exist to make Ms. Craft’s request a reality when she spoke these words, ‘It is my hope that after I am gone, people of all backgrounds will visit my house and come to understand that individuals can make a difference, and to appreciate the importance of service to the community and nation…you don’t have to be rich to make an impact, but you have to work and to care.’”
Donors who contributed $10,000 and above toward the preservation and expansion of Juanita J. Craft’s human and civil rights legacy include: Anonymous; The Addy Foundation; Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated®, Alpha Xi Omega Chapter; Children’s Health; Chrest Foundation; City of Dallas; Communities Foundation of Texas; The Constantin Foundation; Dallas Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.; The Eugene McDermott Foundation; The Florence Foundation; The Friends of Juanita Craft Civil Rights House Museum; The Garden Club Committee of the Junior League of Dallas; Hillcrest Foundation Bank of America, N.A., Trustee; Hoblitzelle Foundation; Junior League of Dallas, Inc.; Lou Anne King Jensen and Jeff Jensen; Make It Count Family Foundation; North Texas Cluster of The Links, Incorporated – Dallas (TX) Chapter, Fort Worth (TX) Chapter, Greater Denton County (TX) Chapter, Mid-Cities (TX) Chapter, Plano North-Metroplex (TX) Chapter, Trinity (TX) Chapter; Roy & Christine Sturgis Charitable Trust, Bank of America, N.A., Trustee; State Fair of Texas; and The Summerlee Foundation.
In addition, the Juanita J. Craft Civil Rights House & Memorial Garden was supported in part through an African American Civil Rights grant from the Historic Preservation Fund administered by the National Park Service, Department of the Interior.
Beginning late May 2023, the home will be available for the public to tour by appointment only. To schedule a tour or for more information, please call the city of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs at 214.670.3687 or visit http://www.juanitacrafthouse.org/.
ABOUT THE JUNIOR LEAGUE OF DALLAS
The Junior League of Dallas cultivates leaders who collectively address the critical needs of the community. Founded in 1922, JLD is one of the largest Junior Leagues in the world, as well as the largest and oldest training organization for women in Dallas. Active members range in age from 22 to 49 with approximately 85% percent of women employed outside of the home. The JLD provides leadership opportunities to nearly 4,000 women each year through more than 17,000 cumulative hours of experiential and formal training. Uniquely member-run, JLD provides approximately 100,000 hours in volunteer service and more than $1 million in funding to area nonprofits each year. For more information, please visit www.jldallas.org or Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
ABOUT FRIENDS OF JUANITA CRAFT CIVIL RIGHTS HOUSE & MUSEUM
The mission of the Friends of Juanita Craft Civil Rights House is to inspire bold civic engagement globally by preserving and amplifying her life and legacy of human rights through transformational education. We, The Friends collaborated with the City of Dallas Office of Arts and Culture (OAC), the Junior League of Dallas (JLD), to restore Ms. Craft’s home with the goal of achieving museum accreditation and getting her home registered on the Civil Rights Trail for the state of Texas.
The house stands as a historic landmark where significant people and events important to the collective fabric of the Civil Rights Movement were discussed, hosted, and launched. As a woman of ordinary means who made an extraordinary contribution to racial and social justice, Mrs. Craft’s story and legacy has yet to be fully realized. Through the restoration of her home, her story will be curated and interpreted in a public national museum setting for visitors near and far.
ABOUT CITY OF DALLAS OFFICE OF ARTS AND CULTURE AND DALLAS PUBLIC LIBRARY
The City of Dallas Office of Arts and Culture (OAC), a division of the City Manager’s Office, fosters support, partnerships, and opportunities for Dallas residents, visitors, artists, and arts and cultural organizations.
Dallas Public Library strengthens communities by connecting people, inspiring curiosity, advancing lives and working for racial equity. The library houses the Juanita Craft Collection, which is the largest repository of Mrs. Craft’s personal effects, civil rights and N.A.A.C.P. items, as well as papers related to her work as a member of the Dallas City Council.
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Olivia Rathle | Brynn Bagot Public Relations 251.421.4532 | [email protected]
Shawn Williams | Allyn Media 214.923.5013 | [email protected]