Fort Worth Pledges Up to $15 Million for National Juneteenth Museum

'I'm in a hurry,' Ms. Opal Lee, who is 95 years old, says

NBCUniversal, Inc.

The Fort Worth City Council announced Tuesday a pledge of up to $15 million for the construction of a National Juneteenth Museum.

“I think it’s fantastic,” said Ms. Opal Lee, a Fort Worth activist who succeeded in making the historic date a national holiday last year. “I think it’s marvelous.”

The new museum, to be built at the corner of Evans and Rosedale on Fort Worth's Southside, will also be a tribute to Lee.

Known as "the Grandmother of Juneteenth," Lee has been a consistent advocate in bringing attention to the June 19 date in 1865 when federal Union troops arrived in Galveston and ensured all remaining enslaved people were free.

The 95-year-old icon was there at the meeting of the Fort Worth City Council when leaders pledged up to $15 million to help build the museum.

The 50,000-square-foot museum is expected to cost about $70 million. The city is making clear its payment will come only after the rest of the money has been raised.

"I don't think it's going to be the hardest thing I've ever done in my life and there are so many young people who are helping us," Lee said.

Lee hopes the museum can be a place for people of all backgrounds.

"Juneteenth -- freedom not for just Black folk. It's for everybody,” Lee said. “There's so much that museum can do for that community. I tell you, I'm ecstatic."

City leaders hope the museum will draw 35,000 visitors a year and be a big boost to the underserved neighborhood.

There's no start date for construction, and the completion date is also up in the air while organizers race to raise the money.

"I'm in a hurry,” Lee said. “You know, life's not promised to us so I want it to happen while I'm around."

Contact Us