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OPAL'S NATIONAL WALK FOR FREEDOM
But she wasn’t sure she would be let into the White House.
Despite the uncertainty, Lee began her march to the capital, gaining national attention in the effort to recognize June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers brought the news of freedom to enslaved Black people in Galveston, Tex. — 2½ years after the Emancipation Proclamation freed enslaved people in the Southern states. She made national headlines, earned a credit in the film “Miss Juneteenth” and gained more than 1.6 million signatures on a petition to mark the holiday.
However, it wasn’t until 2021 that Lee, called the “Grandmother of Juneteenth,” finally witnessed the moment she had worked and walked to achieve. In June, President Biden signed legislation establishing a new federal holiday commemorating the end of slavery, with Lee, 94, beside him.