Ms. Opal Lee and Sedrick Huckaby at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery

Opal Lee and Sedrick Huckaby, 2023
Art Martin Cid Magazine
Art Martin Cid Magazine

Join us in Washington, D.C. at the Smithsonian Institution National Portrait Gallery on Saturday, March 9th for a historic conversation between legendary activist Ms. Opal Lee and internationally renowned artist Sedrick Huckaby.

The 96-year-old, former Nobel Prize Nominee, Ms. Opal Lee will be in discussion with longtime friend and fellow Fort Worth, Texas resident artist Sedrick Huckaby. This event is in connection with the museum’s Women’s History Month Celebration and marks the portrait of Ms. Lee by Sedrick Huckaby entering the museum’s permanent collection.

For decades, Ms. Opal Lee campaigned to make Juneteenth a national holiday. She never doubted it would happen one day, but she was determined to see it occur during her lifetime. In 2021, she got her wish when President Joe Biden signed a bill declaring June 19 a federal holiday to commemorate the end of slavery in the United States. It happened in no small part due to Lee’s efforts, earning her the nickname “The Grandmother of Juneteenth,” as well as a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize last past year.

Sedrick Huckaby, Ms. Opal Lee
Sedrick Huckaby, Ms. Opal Lee, 2023, Oil on canvas, 60h x 40w inches, Collection of the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery

Having known the community leader since childhood, Huckaby is the only artist to have painted Ms. Lee from life.  A graduate of Boston University and Yale University, Huckaby has spent much of his artistic career painting and celebrating ordinary people and families within his Fort Worth community and beyond. The artist recently completed a Fulbright Fellowship in Nacimiento, Mexico where he created portraits of residents that have celebrated the Juneteenth holiday since its inception in 1865.

Together the artist and activist will discuss their respective roles as community leaders and the significance of Juneteenth as a national and international holiday.  This is a rare opportunity to hear the charismatic and inspirational Ms. Lee in dialogue with the insightful Mr. Huckaby, as they speak to the importance of Juneteenth, their work, and their respective visions.

This event will be free and open to the public.  Reservations are encouraged through this link.

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