Who Is The ‘Grandmother of Juneteenth’ Opal Lee?

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Opal Lee Walked 1,400 Miles to Fight For Juneteenth to be a Holiday

At 89-years-old, she made it her duty to fight for Juneteenth to be recognized as a holiday across the nation. In 2016, she walked 1,400 miles from Fort Worth, Texas to Washington, D.C  and in hopes of getting Congress’ attention. Each day she walked two and a half miles. The daily distance symbolized the two and a half years it took for slaves in Galveston, Texas to be notified of slavery’s end in 1865 after it was abolished in 1863.

“I decided that surely there was something I could do to bring attention to the fact that we needed Juneteenth as a national holiday,” Lee told Blavity. “So I decided, if a little old lady in tennis shoes was walking toward Washington, D.C., somebody would take notice.”

In 2020, she garnered 1.5 million signatures on her petition to have Juneteenth made into a holiday, according to Fort Worth Magazine. 

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