The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Opal Lee—Fighter for Juneteenth

Jun 21, 2021

Juneteenth belongs to Opal Lee and others who stood their ground. On Juneteenth, 1939, white supremacists set fire to her childhood home as she and her family fled. She became a civil rights activist and, for most of her life, has been pushing for Juneteenth to become an official holiday.

In 2016, at the age of 89, Opal Lee walked from Fort Worth, Texas to Washington, D.C. to ask President Obama to recognize Juneteenth as a holiday. She did not walk every step of the way. But she walked 2 ½ miles in the morning and in the afternoon in every city she stopped at, asking other people to join her. During the protests last summer, at the age of 93, she organized a petition for Juneteenth. It’s her holiday.