Adelfa Callejo – A Special Tribute for the Texas Trailblazer

September 30, 2022

callejo statueOn September 29th, 2022, a public dedication of the statue honoring Adelfa Botello Callejo was held.  The ceremony at the historic Main Street Garden park was a lively tribute to honor the first Mexican-American woman to practice law in Dallas, Texas.  Heartfelt speeches and joyful songs were heard throughout the eastern end of downtown with the 1,000 pound bronze statue of Adelfa Callejo powerfully looming in the foreground.  

The first Mexican-American woman to graduate from the SMU Dedman School of Law in 1961, Callejo remained in Dallas and quickly became a leader to local Mexican-American civil rights attorneys. After establishing her law firm, she worked to diligently to expand educational opportunities for Hispanic children in Dallas, protect immigrants' rights, fight discriminatory biases in education, and to ensure political representation for minority communities. 

Main Street Garden Park is home to the $100,000 statue that faces toward the UNT Dallas College of Law. The artwork was completed over six years ago by Germán Michel, a Mexican artist and funded by private donations. The bronze statue captured Adelfa Callejo’s iconic presence with a determined smile, tailored business suit, her trademark boutonniere in the lapel, hair swept into a thick bun, and a lawbook in her hand. 

Initially, the statue was slated for the Dallas Love Field airport but it was sidelined until the Quality of Life, Arts and Culture Committee approved the statue's current location. The Callejo statue is anchored at the Harwood and Main intersection. It is a great addition to the Main Street Garden Park.

A lawyer until the age of 88, Callejo was known as 'La Madrina, 'the Godmother of Dallas.' Callejo died in 2014 after a long battle with brain cancer.  She was also recognized as a Texas Legal Legend by the University of North Texas at Dallas College of Law upon her death.