Opal Lee, the "Grandmother of Juneteenth" was selected to be inducted into the Texas Women's Hall of Fame by Gov. Greg Abbott.
On Aug. 29, 2023, Gov. Abbott and the Governor’s Commission for Women announced eight Texas women selected for induction into the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame. The award recognizes achievements in their fields and for “changing the course of Texas history.” Included, is North Texas’ Opal Lee.
“The Texas Women’s Hall of Fame recognizes and celebrates remarkable Texas women not only for their individual achievements but also for their contributions to building an even stronger Texas of tomorrow,” said Governor Abbott. “I am honored to welcome these accomplished women as inductees.”
The 96-year-old woman is being celebrated for her community involvement in Fort Worth and her nationwide advocacy, winning federal recognition of the historic Juneteenth holiday celebrating the end of slavery in the U.S.
For years, Lee laced up her sneakers and walked over two and a half miles in cities across the nation, to observe the two and half years it took for enslaved Black Americans in Texas to receive the message they were free from bondage. On June 18, 2021, President Joe Biden, with Lee and granddaughter, Dione Sims in hand, proclaimed Juneteenth as the eleventh national day of observance.
In February, a depiction of Lee was revealed at the Texas Senate, commemorating the accomplishments of the activist.
“Nominated by their fellow Texans, they have excelled in business, community service, philanthropy, public service, science, sports and more,” Gov. Abbott said. “What unites them is the difference they have made for others. Women of vision, tenacity and generosity, they are an inspiration for the next generation of leaders who will follow them. Cecilia and I thank these distinguished honorees for their enduring contributions to the future of this great state.”
The induction ceremony for the 2023 Texas Women’s Hall of Fame is scheduled for Nov. 9th in Austin. The other women honored are Leta Andrews, Mary Horn, Val LaMantia, Lavinia Masters, Antonietta Quigg, Charlotte Sharp and Elizabeth Suarez.
Honorees of the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame encompass former first ladies, astronauts, entrepreneurs, public servants, and Olympic athletes. Originating in 1984, the hall of fame was founded by the Governor’s Commission for Women.