On this June 18th, Ms. Opal Lee will embark on her annual 2.5 mile walk to recognize the 2.5 years it took for the news of freedom to reach all enslaved people in the United States.
At 90 years old, Ms. Opal began her walking campaign to bring attention to the need for Juneteenth to be a National Day of Observance. With 47 states that officially recognized it as a holiday, she believed now it was time for national legislation.
Starting here in Fort Worth, she walked mile for mile through Arlington, Grand Prairie and Dallas until a change was made to go where she was invited to walk her prescribed 2.5 miles representing the years it took for enforcement of Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation to reach Texas and free the slaves there.
In 2016, she walked in 14 states including Washington. DC. She relaunched her campaign in 2019 and covered 7 states before COVID-19 stopped her.
On June 17, 2021 President Joe Biden signed into law a bill to make Juneteenth, or June 19, the 12th federal holiday saying he believes it will go down as one of the greatest honors he has as president.