Groundbreaking was held for Opal Lee, the grandmother of Juneteenth home on her 97th birthday.

Groundbreaking was held for the new home being built for Opal Lee, the grandmother of Juneteenth on her 97th birthday.

“Housing has forever been something I needed to see everyone have. I’ve resided in shotgun houses. I’ve resided in houses where the rooftop was released,” Lee said.

What’s inspiring about the home is that Lee is coming back to live on the lot after her family was driven out by rioters.

On June 19, 1939, white rioters gathered to irritate, vandalize, and torture her family’s home when she was just 12 years of age.

“I know our parents sent us to friends several blocks away because the police had said if my dad – who came home with a gun – busted a cap, they would let the mob have us,” she recalled.

Lee said her folks left under the cover of the night.

“When those people knew there was nobody there, they went in and started pulling out the furniture, burning it. They did despicable things,” Lee said.

Lee said she’s thankful for how the local area has changed.

Lee is one of Trinity Habitat for Humanity’s founding board members.

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