Today is the official recognition of Juneteenth, the federal holiday commemorating the emancipation of enslaved African Americans. Many of us know that Juneteenth marks the announcement on June 19, 1865 in Galveston, Texas of the Order proclaiming the freedom of enslaved people.
But many of you may not know the story of Opal Lee, known as the mother of Juneteenth. Ms. Lee, from Ft. Worth Texas, worked for years to make Juneteenth a national holiday. In 2016, at 89 years of age, she walked 2 ½ miles each day on a journey to symbolize the 2 ½ years between the passing of the Emancipation Proclamation and when that news finally reached Galveston, Texas.
In 2020, she started a http://Change.org petition that collected more than 1.5 million signatures, which she presented to Congress. She was honored at the White House in 2021 as President Biden signed the bill designating the new holiday.
Today, still going strong in her 90s, she is working to open the National Juneteenth Museum in Ft. Worth.