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Adelfa Botello Callejo Texas Activist Sculpture in Dallas

Close up detail of the Callejo sculpture.

 Adelfa Botello Callejo

Born on June 10, 1923 in Millett, Texas, to parents Felix and Guadalupe Botello, Adelfa Botello Callejo was the oldest of five children (her siblings in age descending order being, Felix, Consuelo, Lillee, and Gilberto) in the home; a home that while maybe not rich in money, valued education and the opportunities it could bring.

Adelfa’s mother, Guadalupe, was born on August 13, 1904 and passed away on February 4, 1983 at age 78. Guadalupe was fifteen years the junior to her husband, and often worked outside the home to help make ends meet. In 1940, Guadalupe worked as a sack sorter for a burlap bag company. In 1950 Guadalupe worked the quite respectable job as a “floor lady” at a department store according to the United States Census.

Felix was born in Mexico, on November 27, 1889 and died May 15, 1970 in Dallas, Texas. Felix, with only a fourth-grade education and not speaking English, was often working in manual, backbreaking jobs. such as in 1930, he worked as a laborer in Sulphur vats, to support his family. In 1940, Felix was working as a farm laborer. By 1950, he had moved on to working for a landscaping company, which at the age of sixty still must have been difficult for him.

Millett, La Salle County, Texas, where Adela was born was a small community at the time. In 1930, barely 8,000 people called La Salle home. Today, the county is even smaller, registering just over 6,500 residents, who are mostly of Hispanic heritage. As for Millett itself, it is unincorporated; fire and drought having ravaged an already small population.

Adelfa graduated high school in 1939 and soon after moved to California. It was in California where she met William Fernando Callejo, the man she was to wed in 1946.

The couple moved often, residing in Mexico City and later New York City, before moving to Dallas in 1951 where Adelfa would be close to family.

By 1961, Adelfa had earned her bachelor’s degree and later her law degree. She was the first female Mexican American graduate of the SMU Dedman School of Law.

Adelfa Botello Callejo
Adelfa Botello Callejo

Despite her academic achievements, employment proved elusive at any of the established law firms and Adelfa began her own practice. Her husband would join the firm after earning his J.D. in 1966. The Callejo and Callejo law firm was born with specialties in immigration, family, and personal injury cases.

The firm was successful and Adelfa herself was becoming influential in the Dallas area. The firm often took on cases involving the rights Mexican immigrants. She was a cofounder of the Mexican American Bar Association of Texas, renamed the Dallas Hispanic Bar Association. She served a term as regional president of the Hispanic National Bar Association. In 1966, the United States Supreme Court admitted her to practice law before them.

Throughout her life Callejo put forth the value of education. She understood that it was education which allowed her to live the life she had. She wanted that for all and was a tireless crusader towards this goal, particularly for Hispanic children.


Woman running in Orthofeet Sneakers


In 2004, Adelfa and her husband donated one million dollars to endow the Adelfa Botello Callejo Leadership and Latino Studies Institute at the SMU Dedman School of Law.

In addition to this endowment, the Callejo’s put their money to use, significantly toward education. Hispanic youth wanting to further their education specifically received their attention. They provided scholarship money allocated through the Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Hispanic Bar Association, and numerous other organizations.

Adelfa Botello Callejo Elementary School. Image courtesy Dallas Independent School District.
Adelfa Botello Callejo Elementary School. Image courtesy Dallas Independent School District.


While fighting brain cancer, Adelfa gave what was to be her last speech on April 12, 2013, at an elementary school named in her honor, the Adelfa Botello Callejo Elementary School, in Dallas. It was during this speech that she stated,

It is through education that we are truly set free, and it is only through education that we shall make this world a better place than we found it for education is the Great Equalizer. I have spent my entire life on this earth promoting the inherent value of knowledge, the unobstructed use of our imaginations and the development of proficient leadership as we run the course of the 21st century. And, I want you to know that I shall never rest nor waver from that commitment.

Cancer claimed the life of Adelfa Botello Callejo on January 25, 2014. Her impact continues to be felt to this day.

Restland Memorial Park, in Dallas is where Callejo’s remains were laid to rest. You may visit an online memorial for Callejo  HERE.

Before Adelfa’s passing, the Callejo Foundation was planning for a larger-than-life sculpture to be created in her memory. Callejo, however, expressed her traditional modesty, and was not interested in such.

The Foundation persisted and commissioned Mexican sculptor German Michel  to create a lasting memorial.  Michel created the impressive 10 foot tall, 1,500-pound bronze statue. This statue can now seen on Main Street in Dallas, near the UNT-Dallas law school.

After many years of indecision, the city of Dallas accepted the art donation. A public dedication ceremony held in her honor on September 29, 2022, cemented that her “memory lives on forever as “La Madrina” or “godmother” of Dallas.

Adelfa Botello Callejo statue located near the Dedman School of Law in Dallas, Texas.
The Adelfa Botello Callejo statue located in Dallas, Texas.
Close up detail of the Callejo sculpture.
Close up of the Callejo statue.



I relied upon information from the Dallas News, Texas State Historical Association, SMU Dedman School of Law, and the Callejo Botello Foundation in writing this article.






If you are visiting Dallas, I recommend a visit to the Oswald Rooming House Museum. Read my post on this small but interesting museum HERE. 


This post may contain affiliate links. If you click these links and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. This commission does not affect any price that you pay. My views and opinions provided are never influenced by affiliate programs or sponsors providing products. 

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Lee Harvey Oswald Rooming House Museum in Dallas Texas

Oswald Rooming House Museum Dallas Texas

Oswald Rooming House Museum                                                                        1026 N. Beckley Avenue                                                                                    Dallas, TX 75203                                                                                            469-261-7806                                                                                    


Oswald Rooming House Museum Dallas Texas
Oswald Rooming House Museum in Dallas, Texas


Located in the Oak Cliff section of Dallas, Texas, is a home that most people would walk by without giving a second look. The only reason you might notice the home now, is the small sign announcing it as the Oswald Rooming House Museum.

The home was built in 1923 and has three bedrooms and was purchased by Gladys Johnson in 1943. Behind the main building is a two story garage containing eight rooms. Johnson maintained the property as a rooming house, providing up to eighteen rentable rooms. The property was operated as a rooming house until 2012. The property was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2014.

Lee Harvey Oswald after arrest in 1963
Lee Harvey Oswald after his arrest

One of those renting a room was Lee Harvey Oswald. On October 14, 1963, Oswald rented a small bedroom in the home at a rate of $8 per week. For some reason, Oswald used the name O.H. Lee in renting the room. The room, just off the dining area, consisted of a small bed, table, lamp, and wardrobe for his clothes. The bed was placed against a wall with a window looking out to the side of the home.

It is easy to imagine that Oswald would have had little privacy in the six weeks that he roomed here. His room was located right off the main living room area and it was no doubt a high traffic area with the communal telephone located near his door. While living at the rooming house, Oswald was employed at the Texas School Book Depository (now the Sixth Floor Museum). The rooming house was only about two miles from his employer.

Oswald spent the weekdays at the Beckley Avenue home and returned to Irving, TX on weekends, where his wife, Marina Nikolayevna Oswald, and two children lived in rented quarters. They lived in the home of Ruth Hyde Paine. It was at the Paine home where Oswald hid the rifle it is said he used to kill President John F. Kennedy.


On the evening of November 21, 1963, Oswald uncharacteristically spent the night at the Paine home and it was then that he removed the stashed rifle from the garage before returning to Dallas.

The events that followed are of course subject to debate, as they have been for sixty years and probably will be for another sixty or more. With that in mind, I recommend a trip to the Sixth Floor Museum in order to get a good grip on the assassination basics. From there, there are literally hundreds of books, websites, and blogs that can help you make your own interpretation of events that unfolded that day and in the days, weeks, and months, after.

What is known, is that Oswald returned to the Johnson home where he was witnessed by housekeeper Earlene Roberts. Roberts testified that Oswald entered the home quickly, went to his room, and left several minutes later with a jacket from his wardrobe. It is believed Oswald also left with a pistol.

Officer J.D. Tippit Dallas Police Department photo. Learn more about Trippet and the Kennedy Assassination by visiting the Oswald Rooming House Museum.
Photo of officer J.D. Tippit distributed by the Dallas Police Department


Shortly thereafter, less than a mile from the Johnson home, in a confrontation not fully understood, Oswald is believed to have shot and killed Dallas police officer J. D. Tippit. I use the term “believed to have” based upon the fact that no trial occurred and Oswald was never convicted of the murder. Most people believe that Tippit was killed after having stopped Oswald based upon the description of the man believed to have shot the President.

Jim Garrison is one of the leading detractors of the Oswald killed Tippit story. Others believe Tippit may have been involved in a conspiracy or involved in some manner in the assassination plot. Garrison passed away in 1992. Garrison’s work was essential to the Oliver Stone film JFK. An online memorial to Garrison may be found HERE.

Tippit, aged 39, was an eleven-year veteran of the Dallas Police Department, after serving in the United States Army during World War II. Tippit’s funeral was held on November 25, 1963 and was attended by more than 2,000 people, including at least 800 fellow law enforcement officers. An online memorial to Officer Tippit may be found HERE.

Today, at the corner of 10th Street and Patton Avenue, there is a commemorative marker recognizing Tippit’s role in the capture of Lee Harvey Oswald.


Historic Marker in honor of Officer J. D. Tippit
Historic marker in honor of Officer J. D. Tippit.



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After the encounter with Tippit, Oswald entered the Texas Theatre, on Jefferson Boulevard some time around 1:15p.m.

The Texas Theatre was built in 1931 and was designed by architect W. Scott Dunne. At the time, it was the largest suburban theatre in the state. In 2003, the Texas Theatre was added to the National Register of Historic Places based upon its importance to the local community in the area of Recreation/Entertainment and its national importance for the arrest of Lee Harvey Oswald.

Accounts of when Oswald arrived at the theatre vary from around 1p to 1:30p depending upon who you believe. Stories generally state that Oswald did not pay the required admission fee and had been acting erratically outside the building.

At around 1:45, Dallas police converged on the theatre, where Oswald, with gun in hand, was apprehended after a minor struggle. He hadn’t been connected to the Kennedy Assassination at this point.

Texas Theatre
Exterior of the Texas Theatre


Texas Theatre historic marker
The Texas Theatre where Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested. This is located near the Oswald Rooming House Museum in Dallas, TX.

But what of the Oswald Rooming House Museum?

Today, the home is owned and operated by Patricia Puckett-Hall, the granddaughter of Gladys Johnson, the owner when Oswald stayed in the home. Several years ago, she had put the house on the  market for around $500,00 but pulled the listing. The home is in need of some repair work and our tour guide told us that Ms. Puckett-Hall is actively seeking this funding.

The museum can be accessed in two manners. The first is to arrange a tour directly with Ms. Puckett-Hall by email or phone (her contact information, taken from her business card, is located at the beginning of this post.) I have seen a few different fees and rules posted online in reviews. Fees seem to range from $20-$40 per person. Rules on photography seem to vary as well. It is possible that they have just evolved over time.

House tours, which consist of the main room of the home and the small Oswald bedroom, can be arranged for two-hour visits with Ms. Puckett-Hall. She will be available to discuss the home and her memories of Oswald. She was a young girl at the time and spent time at her grandmother’s home when Oswald was a resident. The opportunity to talk about Oswald with someone who actually knew him, is an opportunity that will not be available for many more years. Pat will also discuss her views on the assassination and what she thinks Oswald’s role was. If you are a die-hard Kennedy Assassination buff, this is the way to go.

The second option is how we visited the home. We took a guided Kennedy Assassination Tour and the Oswald Museum and admission to the Sixth Floor Museum were included. Our guide was able to answer questions, provide background, and present strong historical context. There were no photography restrictions at the museum, though access was limited to the two rooms.

The home is set up as it was during the 1963 television interview with Earlene Roberts. The bedroom is set up as it was when Oswald lived there. The furniture is that used by Oswald, with the exception of the mattress that has been replaced. Several replica items of items owned by Oswald are on display.

Lee Harvey Oswald's bed located at the Oswald Rooming House Museum in Dallas, TX.
Lee Harvey Oswald bed, note how narrow the room is and the window right next to the bed.
Cabinet located in Oswald's bedroom where he stored a pistol, at the Oswald Rooming House Museum in Dallas, TX.
The cabinet in Lee Harvey Oswald’s bedroom where he took his coat and pistol from after having returned to the home after the assassination of President Kenney










In the main room, it looks like time has been frozen. Everything has a strong dated sense and there is no doubt you are in the early to mid-1960s. My understanding is that with limited exceptions, these are furnishings original to the home at the time of the assassination, including the telephone that Oswald used to talk with his wife while staying in the home.

Main living room area in the Oswald Room House
This view shows the main living room at the Gladys Johnson house close to how it looked when Lee Harvey Oswald lived there. Oswald’s room would be behind us and to the right.
A view of what the rooming house looked like with a piano on the right.
The Oswald Rooming House Museum has been kept as close to the original as possible. Oswald’s room would be to our left.










The telephone that Oswald would have used to call his wife in Irving, Texas at the Oswald Rooming House Museum.
Outside of Oswald’s room was this phone that he would have used to call and speak with his wife while living in the boarding house. It is said he spoke with her in Russian.


For anybody interested in the Kennedy assassination, and why would you have interest in this home for any other reason, this small house museum is a must visit. It may not be set up to “professional museum standards” but what you are witnessing is real history. Perhaps a couple of small interpretive panels would be helpful, but at times, these attempts to tell viewers what they are seeing become overwhelming. Sometimes it is best to just let the viewer see things and work through them on their own. That is how I felt here. If you go to the Sixth Floor Museum, you will be overwhelmed with panels to read.

Both visiting options have their positives. We chose the longer guided tour option in order to get as wide a view of the assassination as possible. Of course, we also had the ability to commit to a longer part of a day. For us, this was well worth the time and expense.

For those with only an hour or two, or with an intense interest in the assassination, getting in contact with the owner offers a unique perspective and comes with a smaller time and financial commitment.

For those interested in the most famous document regarding the Kennedy Assassination, the National Archives has the Warren Commission Report available online.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click these links and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. This commission does not affect any price that you pay. All views and opinions provided are my own and are never influenced by affiliate programs or sponsors providing products.


Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas Texas
Enjoy skip the line tickets to the Sixth Floor Museum, along with entry to the Oswald Rooming House Museum, along with many other sites in this incredible four-hour guided van and walking tour. Your knowledgeable guide will take you to all the major locations associated with the Kennedy Assassination. Did Oswald act alone? You decide! CLICK HERE or the photo above for more information and to purchase tickets for this incredible tour. It’s a tour you won’t regret or forget.