NABC Juneteenth Announcement
NABC proudly celebrates Juneteenth, Juneteenth is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the emancipation of enslaved African Americans. Deriving its name from combining “June” and “nineteenth”, it is celebrated on the anniversary of the order, issued by Major General Gordon Granger on June 19, 1865, proclaiming freedom for slaves in Texas. The army announced that the more than 250,000 enslaved black people in the state, were freed by executive decree. This day came to be known as “Juneteenth,” by the newly freed people in Texas.
The “Grandmother of Juneteenth”
Opal Lee (born October 7, 1926) is an American retired teacher, counselor, and activist in the movement to make Juneteenth a federally-recognized holiday. She is often described as the “grandmother of Juneteenth”. After retiring from teaching in 1976, Lee became involved in Fort Worth community causes. Along with civil rights activist Lenora Rolla, Lee helped found the Tarrant County Black Historical and Genealogical Society. She helped organize Fort Worth’s annual Juneteenth celebration and campaigned for decades to make Juneteenth a federal holiday. She promoted the idea by leading 2.5 miles (4.0 km) walks each year, representing the 2.5 years it took for news of the Emancipation Proclamation to reach Texas. At the age of 89, she conducted a symbolic walk from Fort Worth, from which she departed in September 2016, to Washington, D.C., where she arrived in January 2017.
In June 2021, at the age of 94, her efforts succeeded as a bill to make Juneteenth a federal holiday was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Joe Biden, making Juneteenth the eleventh federal. She was an honored guest at the bill signing ceremony, receiving the first of many pens Biden used to sign the document.
Here is a link to an interview CBS conducted with the “Grandmother of Juneteenth” Opal Lee reflects on her journey to secure a national holiday.