Legacies: A History Journal for Dallas and North Central Texas, Volume 16, Number 01, Spring, 2004 Page: 22
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would not have made the trip to the fair.
Throughout the long day, many adults, seeing
the weary pickets, joined the youths and helped
them carry their signs.9
Mrs. Craft and her group picketed the fair
from early morning until 8:30 that night. The
picket was orderly and the police reported no
violence. Mrs. Craft provided food and moral
support for the youths. Tommy Teal, president of
the Dallas NAACP Youth Council, remembered
the day as "the longest and most impressionable
day" of his life. Feeling excited and gratified
about the picket,Teal became dejected when he
watched the evening news on television showing
an aerial view of the fairgrounds, saying the
picket had no effect. While the AfricanAmerican
newspaper, the Dallas Express, interviewed
black patrons who maintained that the
Negro Achievement day crowd seemed considerably
more sparse than in previous years, Tlze
Dallas Morning News reported an increase in
attendance from 178,068 in 1954 to 181,725.
The Dallas Express commended the youths for
their stand against the fair and the Negro
Chamber of Commerce, while The Dallas
Morning News hailed the typical Texas spirit for
"summarily rejecting the thoughtless effort of
NAACP elements to impair Negro
Achievement Day by picketing.""'
Mrs. Craft had a good time picketing the
fair, but her ingenuity went further. She obtained
fair admission tickets for High School Day that
had been allotted as usual for the white schools.
She acquired the tickets from Hillcrest High
School students who, she claimed, had swiped
them from their principal's office. She gave them
to 1,052 students from the two black high
schools, Lincoln and Washington, who skipped
school to attend the fair with white students.
They were not permitted to buy drinks, ride on
the rides, or see the shows. Suspicious of the high
absentee rate, school officials found the youths at
the fair, and the Dallas Independent School
District pressured the principals of Lincoln and
Washington high schools to make examples of
the students by punishing the leaders. The students
were stripped of honors, class offices, and
roles in school plays. Tommy Teal was reduced
from cadet full colonel and commander of the
entire ROTC regiment to private, removed from
his offices in the senior class and National Honor
Society, and declared ineligible for any scholarships.
Enraged, Mrs. Craft consulted the NAACP
attorney, William H. Durham, about a lawsuit
against the district, but nothing came of it. She
was determined to see that Teal attend college
and went to friends, NAACP members, and
churches and obtained pledges of one dollar a
month to send Teal to Texas Western. She accumulated
enough donations to pay for Teal's
tuition, books, room and board, clothes, spending
money, and transportation during his two-year
stay in El Paso."
In 1956, the NAACP Youth Council won
the award as the most outstanding youth council
in the nation at the annual NAACP convention
in San Francisco for its picketing of the fair.
Although the 1955 picket did not desegregate
the fair, it did bring attention to segregation and
discrimination at the event, and it was the first
major direct action protest involving AfricanAmerican
youths in Dallas. It initiated many
black youths into the civil rights battle and
impressed upon them the sacrifices required in
the struggle. The youth council did not picket
the fair again, but it did boycott Negro
Achievement Day by offering its own picnic and
dance as an alternate activity. Negro
Achievement Day continued, but in 1957 the
word "Negro" was dropped from the advertisements,
which referred to the segregated day only
as Achievement Day. 2
Other groups did picket the fair. Most
prominent was the Dallas Beauticians
Association in the early 1960s under the leadership
of its president, J'Lena Boykin. On
Mondays, beauticians' day off, they protested the
segregation and discrimination still practiced at
the fair. Until the mid-1960s, judges at the fair
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Dallas Historical Society. Legacies: A History Journal for Dallas and North Central Texas, Volume 16, Number 01, Spring, 2004, periodical, 2004; (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth35092/m1/24/: accessed November 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Dallas Historical Society.