Welcome to America’s first Juneteenth federal holiday. To understand how we got here, you have to walk a mile in Opal Lee’s shoes. Or more accurately, two and half miles. “She decided to start with a walking campaign in cities along a route from her home in Fort Worth, Texas, to Washington, D.C. It wasn’t a straight line. Over several weeks, Lee arrived in cities where she’d been invited to speak and walked 2½ miles to symbolize the 2½ years that it took for enslaved people in Texas to learn they were free.” Of course, it’s been a much longer walk for Opal Lee, who is known as the grandmother of Juneteenth. As she explains, it’s taken 155 years, 11 months and 28 days to get here. One Woman’s Decades-Long Fight To Make Juneteenth A U.S. Holiday. About 40% of Americans aren’t familiar with Juneteenth. But 100% of Americans are familiar with three-day weekends. So they’ll learn.

+ For Opal Lee, the long walk started when she was twelve and a mob of 500 white rioters burned down her family’s Fort Worth house, for their crime of wanting to move into the neighborhood. From there to a signing ceremony with the president of the United States is one hell of march through history.

+ Along with her team, Rachel Maddow always does an amazing job of telling the story behind the story. This segment on Opal Lee and Juneteenth is well worth your time.

+ “On June 19, 1865, Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger, who had fought for the Union, led a force of soldiers to Galveston, Texas, to deliver a very important message: the war was finally over, the Union had won, and it now had the manpower to enforce the end of slavery.” Here’s What You Should Know About This Important Day. It’s worth reiterating that Granger delivered his Texas proclamation that all slaves were free two and a half years after Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. Today’s news moves too fast. Back then it moved way too slow. And of course, as we know, this story has been America’s longest, slowest walk—and there’s still a long way to go. But today is a good step forward.