Rebecca Dallis, ground breaking local educator, to be honored for her lifetime of achievement and service to the community in the era of segregation
The Casa Grande Valley Historical Society was founded in 1964 by a group of pioneering women whose mission was to preserve and share the history of the area. Over time, the Society grew and evolved into The Museum of Casa Grande, but the mission remains the same. The Museum has seen exceptional growth with double the amount of field trips over the last season, rising attendance for public programs, and brand new exhibits being developed consistently. These exhibits share the legacies of significant figures throughout Casa Grande’s rich history.
The story of one of Casa Grande’s historic educators, Rebecca Dallis, is recognized at the Museum as being a pivotal part of not only African American history, but the history of the city of Casa Grande as a whole. The former Southside Colored School where Dallis taught is preserved on the grounds of The Museum of Casa Grande, and has long been a stop on the Arizona Women’s Heritage Trail. In 2008, the dedication of the schoolhouse in Dallis’ name and opening of the “African Americans in the Casa Grande Valley Exhibit” was recognized in an official proclamation by former governor Janet Napolitano. The Museum of Casa Grande is now proud to announce that Rebecca Dallis will be inducted into the Arizona Women’s Hall of Fame, and will be recognized among the 100 other incredible women who have contributed to the development of the state.
Rebecca Dallis, née Huey, received her teaching degree in 1924 from Swift Memorial College in Rogersville, Tennessee, where she met and married W.C. Dallis. They moved to Phoenix and Rebecca received her Master of Arts in Education from the University of Arizona in 1935, an incredible accomplishment for a black woman at that time. In 1939, they relocated to Casa Grande where Rebecca took over the segregated one-room schoolhouse known as the Southside Colored School. The building held up to 70 students from grades K-8 at a time. They used discarded textbooks and school supplies from South School, but Rebecca did not allow setbacks to diminish the quality of her students’ education. She went above and beyond her duties by hosting home economics and science classes in her home, and advocated for higher education. Rebecca even sent away for a correspondence class so she could learn Spanish and teach it to her students. After Arizona’s schools integrated in 1953, Rebecca continued to teach throughout the Casa Grande Valley until her retirement in 1962. She sadly passed away in 1971 but left a legacy that is carried on through her former students, and preserved at The Museum of Casa Grande.
The Arizona Women’s Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will be held at the Arizona Heritage Center in Tempe on March 23rd from 3 to 5 p.m. The event is open to the public. Please RSVP at azwhf.org. The Museum of Casa Grande needs the public’s help in locating any family or former students of Rebecca Dallis so that they may attend the ceremony. If you have any information, please contact the Museum at (520) 836-2223, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Museum of Casa Grande is continuing the celebration with its annual “Night at the Museum” fundraiser on April 15th at 6:30 p.m. This year’s event commemorates Rebecca and her husband W.C., who was an educator in Stanfield, with the theme “Dallis: Egypt and Beyond.” Visit the Museum’s website at tmocg.org for more information on the safari-themed gala. Keeping historic figures like the Dallis family relevant takes the entire community’s assistance, and the Museum relies on its supporters to continue its good work.