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From History to Homecoming: Honoring Dr Opal Lee, The Grandmother of Juneteenth

June 18, 2024

From History to Homecoming: Honoring Dr Opal Lee, The Grandmother of Juneteenth

Dr.  Opal Lee, known as The Grandmother of Juneteenth, was joyously celebrated, supported, and welcomed into her new home at the family's historic 940 E. Annie property on June 14th. This historic homecoming event was made possible by the collective efforts and local partnership of HistoryMaker Homes, Texas Capital, and Trinity Habitat for Humanity. 

Each of these organizations played a key role in this historic home build for Dr. Lee. HistoryMaker Homes built the home at no cost to Dr. Lee and, in collaboration with Trinity Habitat for Humanity, oversaw the construction of her home, ensuring a timely move-in date. Prior to the build, Dr. Lee visited the HistoryMaker Homes design center where she selected all of the flooring, fixtures and lighting for her home. Texas Capital provided a grant to Dr. Lee’s non-profit, Citizens Concerned with Human Dignity, which allowed her to furnish the home, creating a comfortable and welcoming space.  

Trinity Habitat for Humanity, in addition to acquiring the 940 E. Annie property back in January 2021, organized the groundbreaking and wall-raising ceremonies, and a Day 1 volunteer day.

While this new home represents a full circle moment for Dr. Lee and her family, its foundation stands on the same hallowed ground where her family's lives were deeply uprooted by racism and violence. On June 19th, 1939, when Opal was only 12 years old, after only four nights of living in their home, hundreds of white rioters gathered to harass, vandalize, and run their family out of the neighborhood.

Friday, June 14th, does not mark the end of the story, but a significant new chapter in Dr. Lee’s enduring legacy and a testament to her remarkable journey. Scheduled a few days before Juneteenth, attendees will witness the gathering of community leaders, activists, and supporters joining together to celebrate our local civil rights leader, The Grandmother of Juneteenth, Dr. Opal Lee.

“Dr. Lee’s contribution to our nation through her work for racial justice cannot be understated, and we are deeply honored to have built her new home that now proudly stands where great injustices once occurred,” said Nelson Mitchell, CEO of HistoryMaker Homes. “Each time Dr. Lee enters her home, we hope it not only offers her a welcoming space but also great sense of pride. Alongside our more than 50 partners and trades, our entire team at HistoryMaker was proud to work together on this project and now present Dr. Lee with the keys to her new home.”

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