FIRST JURIES TO SIT WOMEN IN DALLAS COUNTY
Although the ratification of the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution granted women the right to vote in 1920, women were not permitted to serve on juries in Texas until 1954. Efforts to add women to jury lists began soon after passage of the 19th amendment , when it became clear that the right of jury service would not be granted to women along with the right of suffrage. These efforts hastened during the 1930s and 1940s. During this time, local newspapers drew attention to the issue by reporting on women who were called to jury duty by mistake, and the Dallas Morning News pointed out the absurdity of a system that would allow female district judges but denied those same women the right to sit on a jury. The amendment to the Texas Constitution requiring that women serve on grand and petit juries was finally approved by voters on November 2, 1954. Although women were not officially added to the Dallas County jury selection lists until August of 1955, women who continued to be called to duty “by mistake” had the right to serve for the first time. In November 1954, Adelyne Dransfield, the sole female member of the jury on which she was serving, was elected as one of the first female jury “foremen” in Dallas County. The first occcasions for women to serve on juries in Dallas County were key steps in the ongoing struggle for gender equality and the achievement of full citizineship rights for women in Dallas and throughout the nation. The first women to serve on juries in Dallas County asserted their right to complete this very important job of citizenship with legitimacy and confidence.