Juanita Craft Humanitarian Awards

Honoring Ms. Craft's Legacy

The Juanita Craft Humanitarian Awards were created to honor Ms. Craft’s legacy. She was an influential activist during the civil rights movement and played a crucial role in integrating the State Fair of Texas among other universities, restaurants, and theatres around Dallas. Hosted by the State Fair of Texas and the Juanita J. Craft Civil Rights House & Steering Committee, this annual event serves as a fundraiser for repairing Ms. Craft’s home – a Dallas landmark that now serves as a museum and through the necessary renovations, it will become an educational tool and resource for generations to come. Each year the ceremony recognizes past, present, and future leaders who are following in her footsteps, by presenting awards to individuals who have made an impact on civil rights in the City of Dallas. See our list of past recipients below.

Now Accepting Nominations

Know of an individual who should be nominated for a Juanita Craft Humanitarian Award? Applications for the Juanita Craft Humanitarian Awards are accepted year-round, however in order to be eligible for the current year, your application must be received by July 1. Any applications received after July 1 will be placed in consideration for next year’s awards.


Click Here to Nominate

The Catalyst Award

The Catalyst Award goes to individuals under 40 that are making an impact in civil and human rights in the city of Dallas by creating new initiatives and opportunities.

2023 Recipient – Reuben Lael Griffin
2023 Honorable Mention – James Armstrong III
2022 Recipient – Janie Cisneros
2022 Honorable Mention –
Jennifer Rangel
2021 Recipient –
Tiara Cooper
2021 Honorable Mention –
Rev. Todd Atkins
2020 Recipient –
Maggie Parker
2020 Honorable Mention –
Matt Houston
2019 Recipient
– Taylor Toynes
2019 Honorable Mention – Catalyst Award Honorable Mention – Rev. Dr. Michael Waters and Attorney Yulise Reaves Waters
2018 Recipient – Candace Thompson
2018 Honorable Mention – Young Leaders, Strong City

The Legacy Award

The Legacy Award is A lifetime achievement award for individuals, families, or organizations that have made important and sustained contributions to the understanding and promotion of civil rights.

2023 Recipient – Dr. George Elvin Keaton Jr.
2023 Honorable Mention – Resource Center
2022 Recipient – Larry James
2022 Honorable Mention –
Velma Mitchell
2021 Recipient – Cheryl Wattley
2021 Honorable Mention –
Karen Brooks-Crosby
2020 Recipient –
Diane Ragsdale
2020 Honorable Mention –
Dallas Leadership Foundation
2019 Recipient
– Linda Lydia
2019 Honorable Mention – Jaqueline Mixon
2018 Recipient – Willie Mae Coleman
2018 Honorable Mention – Rev. Peter Johnson

The Spark Award

First awarded in 2019, the Spark Award is designed to recognize a young person between the ages of 14-21 that is making an impact in their schools, neighborhood, or local community by contributing to making our world an even better place now and in the future.

2023 Recipient – Emmy Martinez
2023 Honorable Mention – Kendall Gayle Washington
2021 Recipient – Eric Gonzalez
2021 Honorable Mention –
Maya Nanan
2019 Recipient
– William Menifee

The Visionary Award

The Visionary Award recognizes individuals whose contributions are currently creating a positive effect on civil rights and community transformation in Dallas.

2023 Recipient – Lacy L. Durham, Esq.
2023 Honorable Mention – Jamila Thomas
2022 Recipient – Rev. Yvette Blair-Lavallais
2022 Honorable Mention –
Thana Hickman-Simmons
2021 Recipient – Lynn McBee
2021 Honorable Mention –
Justin Henry
2020 Recipient –
Marsha Jackson
2020 Honorable Mention –
Cessilye Smith
2019 Recipient
– Rev. Richie Butler
2019 Honorable Mention – Kimberly Neil
2018 Recipient – Robert Edison
2018 Honorable Mention – Dona Gassaway Mitchell


Juanita Craft’s legacy in the civil rights movement, specifically in Dallas, is one to be remembered and shared with generations to come. So, in partnership with Big Thought, the State Fair of Texas developed curriculum, for grades 4 to 12, exploring Juanita Craft’s life. Each year a workshop on this curriculum is held and open to any teacher who wants to attend. For more information, contact community@bigtex.com.

Access the Juanita Craft Curriculum