On Wednesday, June 19, celebrate Juneteenth with Opal Lee, Unity Unlimited, Inc., NBC 5, and Telemundo 39, at Opal’s Walk for Freedom. The 2.5-mile walk starts at the African American Museum, Dallas in Fair Park. If you can’t participate or walk virtually, you can watch the event as it’s happening with NBC 5’s coverage from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.


Opal Lee, a social activist, retired school teacher and counselor started the movement to make Juneteenth an official federal holiday when she was 89. She walked many miles to Washington D.C. in her effort to designate Juneteenth as a federal holiday.

Known as the “Grandmother of Juneteenth,” Lee made history when she was present as President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act into law making June 19th of every year a national holiday.

Opal’s Walk for Freedom is 2.5 miles symbolizing the 2.5 years it took for news and enforcement of freedom to reach enslaved people in Texas in 1865, two years after the Emancipation Proclamation.

History has had it’s eyes on Dr. Opal Lee, the “Grandmother of Juneteenth,” for decades. Now she is lacing up her tennis shoes for another walk on Wednesday. 


Lee was a 2022 Nobel Peace Prize nominee and earlier this year she was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor. On May 11, 2024, Lee received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Southern Methodist University.

A painting of Lee now hangs in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. alongside portraits of Abraham Lincoln, Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass.

Earlier this week, Lee received the keys to a new home built where her childhood home once stood. It was burned down by an angry mob 85 years ago.

Lee has been instrumental in continuing the push to educate the masses about Juneteenth, especially children with the publishing of her children’s book, Juneteenth: A Children’s Story

The 97-year-old continues her mission pushing for equality and continuing to educate others through her annual Juneteenth walk every summer.

Who is the woman who successfully pushed for Juneteenth to become a federal holiday? Here is a look at the legacy of a living legend.


This year the walk moved from Fort Worth to Fair Park in Dallas, the walk site is significant in North Texas’ Black History.

The African American Museum, Dallas has an exhibit inside the museum containing General Order No. 3 from June 19, 1865, later known as Juneteenth. A historical marker outside the museum shows it sits on the site of the former Hall of Negro Life, which was built for the 1936 Centennial celebration.

Grab your walking shoes and join “Opal’s Walk for Freedom” on Juneteenth. This year the walk is moving to Dallas for a two and a half mile stroll through historic Fair Park. NBC 5’s Noelle Walker explains the location’s significance in North Texas’ Black history.


NBC 5 and Telemundo 39 will have reporters along the route in Dallas Fair Park, giving you a front-row seat to Opal’s Walk for Freedom. The coverage will be hosted by NBC 5 anchors Laura Harris, Brittney Johnson and Deborah Ferguson. 

NBC 5 will carry live Opal’s Walk for Freedom coverage from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. over-the-air on NBC 5 as well as on the “NBC Dallas Fort Worth News” 24/7 live streaming channel, which is also available for viewing on Roku, Samsung TV Plus, Amazon Fire TV, Xumo Play, Google Play, Freevee, Local Now, TCLtv+ and Pluto. Peacock premium subscribers could also stream live.

Opal’s Walk for Freedom is produced by Unity Unlimited, NBC 5 and Telemundo 39 are proud media sponsors.