African American Elected Officials. Marion Butts Collection Dallas Public Library

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1 African American Elected Officials Marion Butts Collection Dallas Public Library

2 E. (Eddie) Bernice Johnson Born in Waco, Texas on December 3, 1934 Eddie Bernice Johnson is currently the U.S. Congresswoman serving the 30 th Congressional District of Texas. This is her ninth term, having been sworn into office in January, Ms. Johnson has had a distinguished career as a successful business entrepreneur, professional nurse, health care administrator and Texas lawmaker. She was educated at St. Mary s College of the University of Notre Dame and holds a nursing degree from Texas Christian University and a master s in public administration from Southern Methodist University. Ms. Johnson was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1972, the first African American woman ever elected to public office in Dallas. (images of her as a State Representative are included in the Marion Butts Photography Collection PA2005-4/ #128 and #129). She resigned her 3 rd term as a Texas Congresswoman to serve as President Jimmy Carter s Regional Director of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare. She subsequently spent time as a business owner before returning to state politics in 1986 and being elected to the U.S. Congress in Ms. Johnson has one son and three grandchildren and is the recipient of many awards and active in many community organizations. More information about Congresswoman Johnson can be found on her U.S. House of Representatives website:

3 When Ms. Johnson was elected to the Texas House of Representatives as the first African American woman to achieve that success, she spoke of her strong goals in the Dallas Times Herald on June 6, the only black woman currently in the House. Entwined with these honors is the cause she champions: A better life for all people.

4 From the Dallas Times Herald, January 2, 1975, speaking of her time as a Texas legislator: I take my work seriously, do my homework, am a full-time legislator and the men respect me. Several who doubted at first have come back to say they are impressed with what I am doing.

5 Eddie Bernice Johnson took office as the Principal Regional Officer for the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare in From this article in the Dallas Times Herald on November 24, 1977, she says, Texas has a long way to go in delivery of services.we are a wealthy state with one of the best tax situations, but those areas of need which are most important are given the least attention. We have a lopsided approach to people problems.

6 Campaign material for Eddie Bernice Johnson for re-election to the U.S. House of Representatives: From an article in the Dallas Times Herald on January 13, 1986, Johnson says that after being denied the right to try on hats or shoes in the 1950s, she helped to organize a boycott against that Dallas department store. Ms. Johnson broke racial barriers at each stop along her career. She never really concentrated on being the first to achieve these milestones, she said, but rather worked to fulfill the predictions of her father who always thought she would do well.

7 Eddie Bernice Johnson voices her support for Rev. Jesse Jackson for President in 1988, saying, Look here, America Jesse Jackson, a black man born into poverty in the rural South, has won the Democrats vote for president.and even if his candidacy is not a successful one, in my judgment it has opened the doors of opportunity for my son and other sons and daughters of mothers like me to sincerely feel that the presidency of this country can be within their grasp.

8 Joe Kirven ran for office on several different occasions, including the election in 1975 to replace outgoing former Mayor Pro Tem George Allen on the city council. He ran as a Republican, a rarity for African American politicians at that time. Images of him are available in the Marion Butts Photography Collection by searching for his name. This includes a photograph of him with George H.W. Bush.

9 Republican candidate Joe Kirven meets with George Allen (from a Dallas Times Herald article on December 22, 1975)

10 The article from the Dallas Times Herald on December 22, 1975, on Republican candidate Joe Kirven.

11 Juanita Craft ( ) Juanita Craft was born in Round Rock, Texas and moved to Dallas in She worked at the Adolphus Hotel as a bell maid. Craft joined the NAACP (the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) in 1935, and held a number of positions with the organization including Dallas membership chairwoman, Texas field organizer and Dallas Youth Advisor. In 1955, she led a movement to desegregate the State Fair of Texas using pickets and a boycott. Throughout the 1960s, Craft participated in civil rights struggles in Dallas. In 1975, Craft was elected to the Dallas City Council for Place 6 beating Joe Kirven. While on the council, she opposed the building of housing projects in her district. Craft instead supported neighborhood preservation measures and the expansion of parts and other recreational facilities. In 1979, she decided not to run again for the City Council citing the desire to become more involved in community projects. See images of Craft in the Marion Butts Photography Collection PA2005-4/24, , 14.

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13 Juanita Craft, seated, receives recognition of her service on the City Council. (image from the Juanita Craft collection, Texas/Dallas History, Dallas Public Library).

14 To be old, to be female, to be black our society discriminates against these people. It would seem that to be all three might be an impossible burden. But in a white frame house in South Dallas, a woman named Juanita Craft goes right on making things happen. From the Dallas Times Herald, November 21, 1975.

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17 Campaign material for the re-election of Juanita Craft

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19 Although George Allen ran for Dallas City Council in 1965 and 1966, members had to be elected at large (all voters in the city were eligible to vote in all council races) and the poll tax was still in effect making the election of a minority candidate almost impossible. Once the poll tax was banned through the National Voting Rights Act of 1965 and a Supreme Court ruling in 1966, African- Americans pushed for a seat on the city council. C.A. Galloway was the first African-American appointed to a seat to replace outgoing member Joe Moody. His term, however, was short lived and largely symbolic. A 1968 charter election enlarged the City Council from nine to eleven members and eight of those members had to live in their districts, but voting was still city wide or at large. George Allen was appointed to one of the new seats in December, 1968 and became the first African American elected to the city council in 1969.

20 George L. Allen, Sr. ( ) George Allen served four terms on the Dallas City Council including being appointed as Mayor Pro Tem from He was the first African-American elected to the City Council in 1969 after two unsuccessful campaigns. Allen was also the first African American appointed, and later elected, Justice of the Peace and served three terms. Mr. Allen s firsts began in 1938 when he was the first African-American to attend the University of Texas. He attended for 10 days before administrators discovered his race and asked him to leave. He was very active in the Dallas community in the 1950s and 1960s. While serving on the City Council, he became outspoken in his effort to save Fair Park neighborhoods and fought the building of a freeway in the Spence Community in South Dallas. He introduced Civil Rights Ordinance providing for public accommodations for all citizens, including those not named in the Federal Civil Rights Bill. He also introduced legislation to phase out lead in gasoline for cleaner emissions. Allen encouraged the City of Dallas to foster a beneficial legal atmosphere for desegregation. See images of George Allen in the Marion Butts Photography Collection.

21 In 1971, from an article in the Dallas Times Herald, May 19, 1971, protestors march to protest the rejection of George Allen for mayor pro tem. Eighteen speakers from the community spoke during a two hour rally on the steps of City Hall. The rally was lead by Dallas Cowboy, Pettis Norman. Allen, as the last speaker, pledged to use his energy and capabilities to give Dallas a better government for all citizens. Two years later, Allen was unanimously elected Mayor Pro Tem.

22 As evidenced by this photograph in the Dallas Times Herald on May 29, 1975, George Allen was very involved with the community meeting here with residents of the Frazier Courts housing project where three young man were shot over a Memorial Day weekend disturbance. Allen urged residents not to resort to retaliation or violence and let the courts decide justice for the two men arrested for the shootings.

23 Fred Blair (b. 1940) Fred Blair was a South Dallas real estate broker who was elected to the City Council in Blair had previously served on the City Planning Commission and was active in the Black Chamber of Commerce. Blair was both Deputy Mayor Pro Tem and Mayor Pro Tem during his two terms on the Council. He sought to promote economic development in southern Dallas and Oak Cliff, improve housing and increase the number of minority police officers. He supported the creation of the Dallas Rapid Area Transit system. Blair resigned his seat to run for the county commissioner seat and failed in that runoff but later was elected to the Texas House of Representatives from Since that time, he has continued his real estate career.

24 Fred Blair again ran for County Commissioner in 1992 but lost

25 Fred Blair campaign material from a City Council race

26 Elsie Faye Heggins ( ) Elsie Faye Heggins served as a Dallas City Councilmember from She was described by a colleague as the first non-establishment councilmember. Heggins ran unsuccessfully for the Dallas school board before being elected to the council. She supported single-member council districts, better housing, improved social services and lower utility rates all important to poor and senior citizens. She was also very interested in honoring the achievements of African-Americans by the naming of Dallas streets. Heggins held regular town meetings to listen to her constituents and opposed the creation of the Dallas Rapid Area Transit (DART) system because she felt like it didn t do enough for African-Americans. After running unsuccessfully for the open county commissioner seat (that Fred Blair also sought), she retired to Houston.

27 Image of Elsie Faye Heggins (center) holding up the new street sign for the renamed Forest Avenue. Heggins was instrumental in having the late civil rights leader honored through the renaming of the street.

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