Opal Lee Receives Her Flowers with Portrait Hung in Texas Senate Chambers

Opal Lee Receives Her Flowers with Portrait Hung in Texas Senate Chambers

This week has been filled with greatness. Beyoncé made history in music and Lebron James in sport. Now historical figures are getting the spotlight they deserve.

CNN reported Opal Lee, the “grandmother of Juneteenth,” is finally having her portrait hung up in Texas. Lee’s image can be seen in the state Senate chamber and is the first in over 40 years. Several lawmakers and dignitaries were present during the unveiling ceremony, including Republican Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick. “This is a historic day,” Patrick said, according to CNN. “This does not happen often, it’s a great honor.”

The 96-year-old Texas resident was a key element in President Joe Biden signing a bill making Juneteenth a national holiday in June 2021. Juneteenth is the celebration of the  emancipation of enslaved people in in Galveston, TX. Since then, Black Enterprise has reported on states which had to vote to make the holiday an “official” state holiday, like Oregon and Virginia.

Ms. Lee has continued her fight for the equality of Black people in this country. Her work was recognized as she was a nominee for the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize, as reported by BE. Texas Senator Borris Miles called Lee a “living legend” and told CNN the portrait celebration is an example of giving legends their flowers while they’re still alive to receive them. The icon still seems to have a great sense of humor. While the picture was presented, Lee jokingly told CNN she “didn’t know how to act” about having her image hanging next to Barbara Jordan, the first African-American to be elected to Texas Senate. “I was humbled. I wanted to do a happy dance, but the kids say I’m twerking when I do that,” Lee said.

And she deserves to dance. The Hill reported this accomplishment started when Lee walked from her home in Texas all the way to Washington, D.C., to gain support for making Juneteenth a federal holiday.