National Juneteenth Museum set for Fort Worth’s Southside

President Joe Biden speaks with Opal Lee after he signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, in the East Room of the White House, Thursday, June 17, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

The National Juneteenth Museum will be built in Fort Worth, the City of Fort Worth announced Oct. 26.

The museum will be part of a mixed-use development that will help revitalize the city’s Historic Southside neighborhood, according to a city news release.

Declared a federal holiday on June 17, 2021, when President Joe Biden signed the law with Fort Worth’s Opal Lee by his side, Juneteenth has sparked celebrations worldwide. Juneteenth commemorates freedom for the enslaved via the abolition of slavery in the United States.

Longtime area educator Lee is affectionately known as the Grandmother of Juneteenth and has been leading the charge to see the National Juneteenth Museum become a reality.

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“To have lived long enough to see my walking and talking make an impact is one thing, but to know that a state-of-the-art museum that will house the actual pen that President Biden used to sign the bill, and many other exhibits, is coming to pass as well — I could do my holy dance again,” Lee said.

The National Juneteenth Museum will be erected on land that currently houses Lee’s Fort Worth Juneteenth Museum that has served the community for nearly two decades and was a production location in the feature film Miss Juneteenth, a film by Fort Worth filmmaker Channing Godfrey Peoples.

As the epicenter for the preservation of Juneteenth history and a center for discussions about freedom, the new museum will host events and exhibits that foster continued conversation on the global significance of freedom and the celebration of Juneteenth worldwide. The museum will also host seminars and lectures by renowned authorities on historical perspectives of freedom.

The museum will be led by a collaboration of activists, researchers, historians and  people who understand the influence of history on the trajectory of the human experience, according to the news release. It will educate guests on the legacy and experiences of the enslaved and provide factual narratives about people who overcame the trials and hardships of oppression.

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Fort Worth Mayor Mattie Parker said she is excited to add this concept to an already renowned collection of world-class museums in the city. “For decades, Juneteenth has been part of the fabric of our city, and this museum is a welcome addition to its incredible legacy.”