Juanita Craft Poll Tax Receipt

Texas suppressed voting rights by requiring payment to vote in elections

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In 1944 Juanita Craft became the first Black woman to vote in Dallas County, Texas. This 1945 poll tax receipt shows that she paid $1.75 to be allowed to vote in the county.

Texas passed a poll tax law in 1902 making it harder for the poor to vote. Voters had to pay the tax each year before January 31st and bring their receipts to the voting booth as proof before they were allowed to vote in that year’s elections. The requirement of paying to vote in Federal elections was outlawed in 1964 by the 24th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. At that time only Texas, Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Virginia still had a poll tax in place. It was not until 1966 — after the Supreme Court ruled that the poll tax was unconstitutional for state and local elections — that Texas abolished the poll tax.

Originally from Round Rock, Texas, Juanita Shank Craft moved to Dallas in 1925, where she became involved with civil and voting rights. In 1946, Craft became the first Black woman in Texas deputized to collect the poll tax and was appointed Youth Council advisor to the Dallas NAACP. In addition to her work with the NAACP, Craft served as a Democratic precinct chairman, on the Dallas City Council, and on many boards. Known for her quote, “I love Texas so much, I made her change all her bad habits,” Craft received numerous awards during her years of service and worked with civil rights leaders, politicians, and U.S. presidents.

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Juanita Craft Poll Tax Receipt Artifact from Dallas, TX
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