Last year, Opal Lee wrote her own children’s book about Juneteenth. The Fort Worth activist is known as the “grandmother of Juneteenth” because she successfully championed it as a national holiday. Now, a new children’s book has been released – about Opal Lee herself.
As one might expect, Lee — who was interviewed for the book — is pleased with it: “I was just delighted to get it. I was thrilled. “
And the portraits of her – painted for the book? “I thought they were really neat. I really did!”
The book from Thomas Nelson Publishing is called Opal Lee and What It Means to Be Free. Alice Faye Duncan wrote the book, and Keturah A. Bobo illustrated it. She’s a New York Times bestselling book illustrator.
Opal Lee and What It Means to Be Free uses a picnic celebration to recount the history of Juneteenth — as well as the painful history that inspired Lee’s civil rights activism. A white mob burned her family home in Fort Worth in 1939.
But the 95-year-old Lee says what’s most exciting to her are the people who created the book.
“I just want more young people who have ideas to bring them out,” she said. “Share them with us.”
Lee says she is ‘humbled’ by what such young people are capable of doing for civil rights.