Wonder Woman Wednesday: Lenora Rolla

Lenora Butler Rolla, the granddaughter of former enslaved people, overcame poverty and prejudice to graduate from I.M. Terrell High School in 1921. She emerged as a pivotal figure in the Dallas-Fort Worth area as a civil rights activist, journalist, businesswoman, educator, and historian. Her influential work in journalism, civil rights leadership, and community activism left an enduring legacy that continues to shape the cultural landscape of the DFW Metroplex.

Rolla excelled as a political journalist and editor covering the emerging civil rights movement. In 1952, she was named managing editor of the African American newspaper, the Dallas Express, where she covered political events of national significance. She served as managing editor of the Dallas Express until 1956. Additionally, she took on the role of dean of women at Jarvis Christian College, a historically Black institution in Wood County, Texas, from 1955 to 1958.

Rolla founded the Hattie Street Haven, a neighborhood community space for youth. She also was a founder of the Community Christian Church and served as Vice President of the National Christian Missionary Convention.

Moreover, Rolla organized and founded the Tarrant County Black Historical and Genealogical Society. She personally recovered and preserved most of Tarrant County's African-American artifacts, placing them under the watchful care of the Society.