The Power of Education

The well-known civil rights attorney, Adelfa Callejo used her education to advance the causes that were dear to her and to her community: immigration, human rights and education itself. Adelfa often said that one of the reasons she was able to reach so many people and be so successful was because of her education. Adelfa advocated for education rights and reform because she believed that education empowers people and their community.

The Callejo-Botello Foundation was created to fund Adelfa’s mission to fund scholarships and promote education by providing information on how individuals, educators and the community at large can help themselves by being informed, vocal and persuasive in education matters.

The Life of Adelfa Callejo


Born on June 10, 1923 in Millett, Texas, Adelfa Callejo was the daughter of an immigrant Mexican father and a Mexican American mother.


Adelfa graduated from Cotulla High School in 1939, being the first one in her family to graduate from High School and continue to College.


Working as a secretary during the day, she attended night school at SMU, studying simultaneously for her B.A. and J.D. degrees. Adelfa B. Callejo was the first Hispanic woman to graduate from the SMU Dedman School of Law in 1961.


On March 2, 2006 the SMU Women’s Symposium recognized Adelfa B. Callejo for her decades of service to the Hispanic community, her leadership in the promotion of Hispanic organizations both in and out of the legal profession, and her achievements as a leader in the Dallas community.

The SMU Dedman School of Law has named the Adelfa Botello Callejo Leadership and Latino Studies Institute in her honor.


The Dallas Hispanic Bar Association presented Callejo with its “La Luz” award in 2010, an award given to those who are trailblazers in lighting the path for Hispanics in the legal profession.


In April 2013, the Dallas Independent School District opened an elementary school named in her honor.


On January 25, 2014 Callejo died at 90, surrounded by her family.

Photo Gallery

News & Media

Statue of Dallas’ Adelfa Callejo ready to take a stand

The 10-foot-high, 1,500-pound statue stands like Callejo once did in civil rights circles, tall and proud, yet, for the moment, without a home or a specific date when it will make the 1,128-mile journey from Mexico City to Dallas, a trip that could be months away.

Adelfa’s Statute Fundraising Event