MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A woman known as the Grandmother of Juneteenth was honored Monday in Memphis.
Opal Lee was presented with a special resolution at the Shelby County Board of Commissioners meeting August 30. The honor was for her efforts to have Juneteenth declared a federal holiday. Her change.org petition to designate June 19th as a day of remembrance received 1.6 million signatures. During the ceremony, Lee received the first pen used by President Biden to sign the document into law.
“I just know that the enslaved who were freed in Texas two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation, I just feel a part of them, they are my ancestors. I don't want people to forget it, I don't want them to forget what happened to them,” Lee said.
To help keep the memory of her ancestors alive, Lee wrote a book called Juneteenth: A Children's Story.