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Juneteenth activist Opal Lee is the subject of a new children's book

Christopher Connelly
Opal Lee, known as the "grandmother of Juneteenth," wrote a children's book herself about the holiday last year.

Last year, Opal Lee wrote a children's book about Juneteenth. The Fort Worth activist is known as the "grandmother of Juneteenth" — having 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," she said.

And the portraits of her, painted for the book? "I thought they were really neat. I really did!"

Opal Lee children's book.jpg
Thomas Nelson
The new book chronicles both the history of Juneteenth and activist Opal Lee's own life.

The new book 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. It also delves into the painful history that inspired Lee -- including a white mob burning 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.

Jerome Weeks is the Art&Seek producer-reporter for KERA. A professional critic for more than two decades, he was the book columnist for The Dallas Morning News for ten years and the paper’s theater critic for ten years before that. His writing has appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Times, Newsday, American Theatre and Men’s Vogue magazines.