Ms. Opal's Bio:
Opal Lee was born October 7, 1926 in Marshall, Texas. Her mother moved to Fort Worth when she was ten years old. She attended Cooper Street Elementary School and graduated from Historic I.M. Terrell High School in 1943 at the age of 16.
Education & Career:
She didn’t go straight to college after graduation which was a grave disappointment to her mother, but did eventually get there after getting married, having four children and getting divorced. She earned her Bachelors of Arts degree in 1953 from Wiley College (now Wiley University) and returned to Fort Worth to teach at Amanda McCoy Elementary School for 15 years where she was regarded as one of the best educators in her field. At night she worked at Convair (now Lockheed Martin) to support her children. She later obtained her Master’s degree in Counseling and Guidance from North Texas State University and served as Home/School Counselor for Fort Worth Independent School District until her retirement in 1977.
Retirement & Community Activism:
Retiring gave Mrs. Lee the time and opportunity to become even more involved in the community. She was one of the founding members of Citizens Concerned with Human Dignity (CCHD) which was formed to assist the economically disadvantage in finding housing in Fort Worth. She volunteered at Habitat for Humanity, and served as a member of the board. She now serves on Habitat’s Land Acquisition Board.
With Lenora Rolla as its inspiration, Mrs. Lee helped establish the Tarrant County Black Historical & Genealogical Society dedicated to the preservation of the history of the Fort Worth Black populace. She served on the Historic & Cultural Landmarks Commission, AIDS Outreach committee, Evans Avenue Business Association, Good Samaritans, and Riverside Neighborhood Advisory Council.
She has served as Precinct Chair for District 8 for over 30 years, a member of Grandmother’s Club, and Ethel Ransom Humanitarian & Cultural Club. She is an active member in her church, Baker Chapel AME where she serves as a Missionary, church school teacher, assistant teacher and Deaconess.
On June 17, 2021, President Biden passed a bill making Juneteenth a National holiday. Ms. Opal stood alongside the president during this historic occasion and received the pen in which he used to sign off on the law
Opal's Walk to DC
Ms. Opal Lee has been devoted to preserving the history and timeline of the emancipation of Texas slaves and the unifying effect of understanding that “None of us are free, until we are all free.”
In partnership with Phylonalds Agency Productions, we have developed a full length documentary that will educate viewers on the importance of Juneteenth and highlight Opals Walk 2 DC, Ms. Opal’s symbolic walking campaign at 90 years old to Washington, DC to make June 19th a National Day of Observance.
Ms. Opal Lee's
Juneteenth: A Children's Story
Many people have expressed that they have either not heard of Juneteenth or was under the impression that Juneteenth is just a " Texas thing". To aid in the education of the youth, Ms. Lee authored an easy to read book to explain the importance of Juneteenth and its origin.
- January 17th: International Peace Honors virtual event.
- January 18th: Martin Luther King Jr. Day of service with Tarrant County Churches Together
- January 24th: National Juneteenth Observance Foundation Juneteenth Lecture Series - Episode 1
- February 1st: Juneteenth Legacy Project - 'Absolute Equality for All' Media Event
- February 5th: Visit Fort Worth Annual Breakfast
- February 25th: Ms. Opal Lee's Press Event - Juneteenth: A Road to Unity
- February 28th: 'From Pain To Power’ panelist discussion at the Pembroke Taparelli Arts & Film Festival.
- March 16: TCU & UNTHSC School of Medicine’s, “FWMD LIVE” chat live-taping with Ms. Opal Lee
- March 24: CAA Amplify presents 'The Road to Unity' with Ms. Opal Lee & Carmelo Anthony
- March 29: Fox Soul's The Book of Sean interview with Ms. Opal & Dr. Sean McMillan
- June 19th: Juneteenth 2021 Celebration, Ft. Worth
Honors & Awards
- August 24, 2019 - 400th Anniversary of 1619 Slaves Landing
- June 29, 2020 - 2020 Elaine Brown Community Advocacy Award from National Coalition of 100 Black Women - Dallas Metropolitan Chapter
- August 28, 2020 - 2020 Power of Influence Awards - Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, Washington DC
- 2020 Story Terrace Unsung Hero Award
- 2020 National Philanthropy Day Award - AFP Fort Worth
- 2020 Visit Fort Worth annual Hospitality Award
- January 17th, 2021: US Voice of Peace Honoree - International Peace Honors virtual event.
- February 5th, 2021: Visit Fort Worth Annual Hospitality Award
- Majic 94.5 with India B. , TX
- 97.9 The Beat with Lil D. TX
- 97.9 The Beat , The Community with Goodspeed, TX
- NBC Universal with Christian Farr, IN
- CBSDFW with Jody Dean, TX
- CBSDFW Juneteenth Round Table discussion
- CBSDFW Juneteenth Caravan coverage
- CBS Evening News with Jericka Duncan, NY
- StreamMusicTV with Spaceboi Fresh and Jazzie, TX
- Soul of FTW with Deah Berry, TX
- Power Hour with Niko Brim, NY
- National Geographic with Rachel Jones, NY
- Revolt TV with Sean "Diddy" Combs, NY
- Sean 'Diddy' Combs Instagram story highlight
- CNN Nightly News with Tyremaine, NY
- CBS2 This Morning with Zapata and Demarco, CA
- The Cedric Bailey Show with Cedric Bailey, TX
- Spotify, This Day in History with Max Gibson, NY
- Shuvar Radio with Shuvar, GA
- Avacado Magazine with John Davies, AZ
- FTW Magazine with Rachel Umstead, TX
- NBCDFW by Laura Harris
- Fort Worth Weekly: 'Toast & Jam' with Opal Lee
- HuffPost with Erin Evans, NY
- National NBC with Deborah Ferguson, NY
- NBC5 - Coverage of Ms. Opal Lee's Juneteenth Caravan
- NBC5 Coverage of Juneteenth 2020
- MSNBC with Stefanie Cargill, NY
- MSNBC Juneteenth Coverage, 2020
- MSNBC with Trymaine Lee
- MSNBC Inequality in America - Juneteenth walk
- National ABC with Elie Sokoloff, NY
- Allhiphop.com with Chuck Creekmur, NY
- Grammy.com with Niko Brim
- CNN Newsroom with Brooke Baldwin, NY
- NPR The Takeaway with Tanzina Vega, NY
- ESPN - NFL Cowboys with Demarcus Lawrence and Gerald McCoy, TX
- ESPN2 Interview with Gerald McCoy
- ESPN Juneteenth interview with Gerald McCoy
- Conversations with Opal Lee ft. Danny Glover, CA/TX
- ABC13 TX
- WFAA with Matt Howerton, TX
- Cheddar News with Alex Vuocolo, NY
- Dallas Morning News with Jesus Jimenez, TX
- The New York Times with Julia Carmel
- KERA with Alejandra Martinez, TX
- FOX4 with Dionne Anglin, TX
- FOX4 North Texas Town Hall coverage
- Good Morning Texas with Jennifer Holliman, TX
- Billboard.com , NY
- Cook's Children Hospital with Laura Vanhoosier
- Unfiltered with Roland Martin, DC
- TexasMonthly.com, Being Texan with Issac, TX
- CBS 11 with Robbie Owens, TX
- Star Telegram with Bud Kennedy
- Star Telegram by Brian Lopez
- ScrippsTV with Kaitlin Sica, OH
- Al Jazeera " The Take" with Malika Bilal , Doha, Qatar
- CBS Local - Dallas Fort Worth - 94th Birthday Surprise
- Spectrum 1 San Antonio - Holiday Warning
- NBCDFW - Post Election Interview
- CBS Evening News with Norah O'Donnell
- NBC Boston - NECN Interview with Colton Bradford.
- Loudoun County, VA make Juneteenth a National Holiday after visit from Ms. Opal Lee.
- New York Times feature on Ms. Opal Lee.
- NBCDFW - Community Conversation with Ms. Opal Lee
- Fort Worth Magazine - Opal's Quotables
- Fort Worth Business - Visit Fort Worth Honors Lee
- Fort Worth Star Telegram - Visit Fort Worth Honors Opal Lee
- Fort Worth Star Telegram - At 94, Fort Worth civil rights Opal Lee packs a powerful speech
- WFAA-ABC 8 - At 94, Fort Worth activist Opal Lee views Juneteenth as her most important lesson
- Fort Worth Star Telegram - Fort Worth’s Opal Lee, 94: ‘If we’ve been taught to hate, we can be taught to love’
- Fort Worth Magazine - Ms. Opal featured on pages 13, 18, 24 and 25 for her work in the Fort Worth community.
- Forbes - How and Why Brands and Organizations Should Do Good
- CNN - Lawmakers reintroduce Juneteenth bill. This 94-year-old will do 'whatever it takes' to make it a national holiday.
- Cornyn, Markey, Jackson Lee Reintroduce Bipartisan Bill to Make Juneteenth Federal Holiday
- Spectrum News 1 - “Black History Doesn’t End in February”: Civil Rights Activist Opal Lee Not Done Yet
- U.S. Travel Applauds Legislation to Make Juneteenth a Federal Holiday
- CAA Amplify: Juneteenth event with Ms. Opal & Carmelo Anthony
- Fox Soul's The Book of Sean - LIVE interview with Ms. Opal Lee.
- Fort Worth Report
- Southern Living - The Mission of Opal Lee
- Galveston - The Daily News - Juneteenth Legacy Project tells a story the nation needs to hear
- Evanston Juneteenth Celebrations, IL (video)
- OGU Community BBQ, TX (in person)
- CreWomen TV Mother's Day Tribute, NY (video)
- CreWomen TV Father's Day Tribute, NY (video)
- Trademark Church, TX (in person)
- Juneteenth AF1 Shoe with Sierato (video)
- Fort Worth Arts Council Boxed Lunch (video)
- Philadelphia Juneteenth Celebration, PA (video)
- Cook's Children Hospital, TX (video)
- Miss Juneteenth Movie
- The Winners Circle with Yolanda Gamble (video)
- Live Free with Pastor Mike and Steve Kerr (video)
- Soho Muse BLM Artist Speaks Panel Discussion (video)
- PBS , 'The Life of Oscar Grant" (feature) , Washington, DC.
- Revolt TV, "From Pain to Power" (feature), Washington, DC.
- September 23rd Petition Drop to Congress, Washington DC (video)
- Brunswick, GA Unity Walk with Ahmaud Arbery's Family
- Legends and Legacies: Commentaries on Fort Worth's African American History