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Opal Lee's Juneteenth Walk In Dallas Celebrates Freedom

The walk commemorates the spread of emancipation news to Texas and supports the National Juneteenth Museum
Photo: Ms Opal Lee

On Wednesday, June 19, Opal Lee will complete her annual 2.5-mile walk at the African American Museum of Dallas, commemorating the 2.5 years it took for the news of freedom to reach enslaved people in Texas. 

This event marks Juneteenth, now a national holiday celebrating the abolition of slavery across the United States. Unity Unlimited and Lee continue this tradition to educate the nation on the importance of universal freedom.

Participants can register to walk virtually with Lee from any location or join Opal's Walk Live events in various cities. The walk begins at 9 a.m. at the African American Museum in Dallas, located at 3536 Grand Avenue. This initiative supports the National Juneteenth Museum and aims to educate the country about freedom and Juneteenth's role in healing America.

Lee, often called the "Grandmother of Juneteenth," is a pivotal figure in recognizing this holiday. At 89, she began her campaign to make Juneteenth a national holiday, collecting 1.6 million signatures. Her efforts culminated in President Joe Biden signing the Juneteenth Independence Day Act on June 17, 2021, proclaiming this day as the eleventh national day of observance.

In recognition of her lifelong dedication, Lee received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Biden on May 3, 2024. She was joined by 18 others at the White House to receive the medal. This honor is the highest civilian award in the United States and acknowledges her outstanding contributions to the nation. "These nineteen Americans built teams, coalitions, movements, organizations and businesses that shaped America for the better," said White House officials.

For Lee, Juneteenth represents a period of reflection on the progress of freedom. She advocates for celebrations extending from June 19 to July 4, highlighting ongoing disparities in education, health care and joblessness. "We're not free yet. We've got too many disparities — absolutely too many to say that we are free," she said during an interview with Local Profile at her Fort Worth home.

Her activism is not limited to her walks. She is involved in developing the National Juneteenth Museum in Fort Worth, set to open in 2026. This $70 million project aims to preserve and educate future generations about Juneteenth and its significance.

She has also updated her children’s book, Juneteenth: A Children’s Story, originally released in 2019, to include the historic establishment of the 12th federal holiday with updated copy and illustrations.

You can join Lee on June 19 during her annual 2.5-mile Walk for Freedom to ensure freedom marches on. Register by clicking here.

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