In 2006, Dallas native Craig Watkins was elected into office as the first African American District Attorney in the State of Texas. Many have described Watkins as a rebel and a revolutionary, mainly because of his approach to prosecuting criminals. “Not just because of what I look like, but the philosophical approach I bring to the office,” said Watkins.
Before becoming the youngest District Attorney in Dallas County, and the first African American D.A. in the state, he was a local lawyer who dreamed big.
Educated in Dallas Public Schools, Watkins graduated from Prairie View A & M University and later earned his law degree from Texas Wesleyan University in Fort Worth.
His parents were college educated and part of the middle class. They taught him to dream big and appreciate his African American heritage.
They themselves were business owners, breaking the mold and paving the way for his success.
Under Watkins’ leadership, the Dallas County D.A.’s office has achieved a 99.4% conviction rate; his internationally recognized conviction integrity program uses DNA technology to put the guilty in behind bars. But the biggest impact has come from the freeing of dozens of wrongfully convicted prisoners.
Watkin’s Conviction Integrity Unit has reviewed more than 300 cases and helped free 25 wrongly convicted inmates.
Craig Watkins says he hopes to pass the torch to younger kids, so they will one day continue his fight for equality.