Ms. Opal is an honorary national co-chair of the Juneteenth Legacy Project, and a voice of history with a message for the future. Many consider her the “Grandmother of Juneteenth” but if you ask her who she is, she will tell you she’s “just a little old lady in tennis shoes getting in everybody’s business.”
At 94 years old, Opal Lee is still determined to see Juneteenth made a national holiday through bringing awareness to Congress and the administration that the country needs and wants the unity that celebrating the abolition of slavery can bring. Influenced by being a board member of NJOF with Dr. Ronald Meyers, she too understood the national relevance of celebrating freedom all across America which is bigger than just Texas.
On June 18, 2020, The New York Times published a feature on Ms. Lee that highlighted her story and vision for making June 19 a national holiday. According to The Times, in 2016, at the age of 89, she decided to walk from her home in Fort Worth to Washington, D.C., in an effort to get Juneteenth named a national holiday. She traveled two and a half miles each day to symbolize the two and a half years that black Texans waited between when Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, on Jan. 1, 1863, abolishing slavery, and the day that message arrived in Galveston, where black people were still enslaved, on June 19, 1865.
Ms. Lee is grateful for your support of her Change.org petition at www.opalswalk2dc.com.
With your support and the support of other Americans Ms. Lee's efforts to get Congress to adopt and name
Juneteenth (June 19) as a national holiday was a monumental success.