Video: Ms. Opal Brings Juneteenth Campaign to Loudoun

One day after delivering to the U.S. Congress a petition with 1.54 million signatures supporting the establishment of Juneteenth as a national holiday, Opal Lee spent much of Thursday visiting with Loudoun County leaders.

Best known as Ms. Opal, the 93-year-old activist from Fort Worth, TX launched a walking campaign in 2016 to promote awareness of the effort to make June 19 an annual national day of observance.

Among her stops during the day was Waterford’s John Wesley Methodist Church, built in 1891 by members of the village’s black Methodist Episcopal Church congregation, where she met with historians and members of the Waterford Foundation. 

While Waterford was home to many free Black families in the late 19th century, Lee was particularly interested in the role the village’s Quaker residents played helping escaped individuals find freedom and supporting the end of slavery.

And she said the work to end slavery provides an example to follow today.

Opal Lee

“When the slaves were freed, it wasn’t their doing,” she said. “It took Quakers, John Brown. It took Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth. And they did it together. I can’t see why we can’t address the disparities in our county together.”

“We see Juneteenth as being a unifier,” she said. “I even see it being celebrated from June 14thto the fourth of July, in as much as slaves weren’t free on July 4, 1776. But it all boils down to freedom and none of us are free until we’re all free.”

Juneteenth marks the day, June 19,1865, that Union forces proclaimed freedom from slavery in Texas, the last state to learn of the emancipation proclaimed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1862. It is recognized as a ceremonial observance or state holiday in 47 states. 

2 thoughts on “Video: Ms. Opal Brings Juneteenth Campaign to Loudoun

  • 2020-09-25 at 5:34 am
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    How much do holidays cost the county best estimate 4 million dollars. we do not need another unnecessary holiday! Nothing unifies like dividing, huh?

  • 2020-09-25 at 8:00 am
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    Is it possible to celebrate such an event without closing schools so our children can jointly participate in a learning program instead of just being home perhaps watching it on TV or just playing etc? Bureaucrats love having paid holidays but if the purpose is to participate in a unifying event then actual participation (learning) should be the goal so keep the schools open. 🙂

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