A stage play offering insight to the significance of Juneteenth is donating a portion of its proceeds to support former FWISD alumna Opal Lee’s efforts to have the day observed as a national holiday.
Juneteenth The Stage Play, co-written, directed and produced by former Dallas Cowboy Greg Ellis, is being performed at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 18 at the Will Rogers Memorial Center, 3401 W. Lancaster Ave.
Juneteenth, annually celebrated June 19 in African American communities, commemorates the day slaves were emancipated in Texas.
Lee is one of six honorees being inducted onto Fort Worth ISD’s Wall of Fame at 2:30 p.m. ceremony Monday, June 17 at the Fort Worth ISD Administration Building, 100 N. University Drive.
A 1943 graduate of I.M. Terrell High School, Ms. Lee is a former Fort Worth ISD teacher and counselor and advocate for Juneteenth becoming a federal holiday. A civil rights activist, Ms. Lee advocated 40 years for a Juneteenth Independence Day. She’s walked to the U.S. Capitol several times advocating that the nation recognizes Juneteenth as a federal holiday.
Her efforts were the focus of a Juneteenth exhibit on display at the Fort Worth Central Library in 2018. In 2015, her efforts led to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signing a bill to create a Juneteenth license plate.
On June 19 1865, Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger arrived on the shores of Galveston with news that the Civil War had ended and that all slaves were freed. The order was announced more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, declaring an end to slavery throughout the United States.
Lee is the chair of Juneteenth Fort Worth; founding member of the Community Food Bank; organizer of Opal’s Walk 2 DC; co-founder of Citizens Concerned with Human Dignity; board member of Habitat for Humanity and Unity Unlimited; visionary behind Opal’s Farm.
The box office for Juneteenth The Stage Play opens at 6 p.m. June 18, with a VIP reception beginning at 6: 30 p.m. To get tickets or learn about other Juneteenth celebratory events being hosted across Fort Worth, visit www.juneteenthftw.com.