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Opal Lee

From Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Lee with President Joe Biden at the White House, June 2021

Opal Lee (born October 7, 1926) is an American retired teacher, counselor, and activist. She worked to make Juneteenth a federal holiday in the United States. She has been called the "grandmother of Juneteenth".[1]

Lee was born in Marshall, Texas. She studied at the University of North Texas.

Lee campaigned for many years to make Juneteenth a federal holiday.[2] She began a lead to walk 2.5 miles (4.0 km) each year, representing the 2.5 years it took for news of the Emancipation Proclamation to reach Texas. At the age of 89, she walked from Fort Worth, Texas to Washington, D.C., leaving in September 2016 and arriving in Washington in January 2017.[3][4] She was hoping to inspire President Barack Obama to make Juneteenth a holiday.[5]

On June 17, 2021, President Joe Biden signed Senate Bill S. 475, making Juneteenth the eleventh federal holiday.[6] Lee was at the White House for the signing.[7]

During the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, Lee began working at a food bank, farm and community garden[8] during the pandemic to help communities affected by it.[9]

References[change | change source]

  1. Jackson, Angelique (June 17, 2021). "Why 94-Year-Old Activist Opal Lee Marched to Make Juneteenth a National Holiday". Variety. Retrieved June 18, 2021.
  2. Romo, Vanessa (June 17, 2021). "One Woman's Decades-Long Fight To Make Juneteenth A U.S. Holiday". National Public Radio. Retrieved June 18, 2021.
  3. Connelly, Christopher (September 6, 2016). "This 89-Year-Old Is Walking To Washington". Houston Public Media. Retrieved June 19, 2021.
  4. McGinnis, Cory (June 17, 2021). "Our America: Meet Opal Lee, the grandmother of Juneteenth". ABC 7. Retrieved June 19, 2021.
  5. Kornfield, Meryl (June 19, 2021). "Meet Opal Lee, the 94-year-old activist who marched for miles to make Juneteenth a federal holiday". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 19, 2021.
  6. "Bill Signed: S. 475". White House Briefing Room - Statements and Releases. June 18, 2021. Retrieved June 18, 2021.
  7. Relman, Eliza (June 17, 2021). "Biden got down on one knee to welcome the 94-year-old 'grandmother' of Juneteenth to the White House". Yahoo News. Retrieved June 19, 2021.
  8. "Urban Farming in Fort Worth's Food Desert". NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth. Retrieved 2022-01-24.
  9. Staff, FWBP (2021-07-15). "Opal Lee part of 'Unsung Heros' book for work on Juneteenth, COVID-19". Fort Worth Business Press. Retrieved 2022-01-20.[permanent dead link]