Mar 24, 2022 - News

North Texas women who changed the world

Opal Lee smiling next to the Vice President
Opal Lee holds hands with Vice President Kamala Harris as President Joe Biden signs the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act into law on June 17, 2021. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

We're nearing the end of Women's History Month, a time to reflect on the contributions of women who shaped our world.

Why it matters: Our region wouldn't be what it is without the women who fought for equal rights, education and fair labor practices.

  • Here are four North Texas women you should know about:

Grandmother of Juneteenth: After retiring from teaching in Fort Worth, Opal Lee campaigned for decades to make Juneteenth a national holiday. She promoted the idea by leading a series of 2.5 mile walks, symbolizing the two and a half years it took for the Emancipation Proclamation to reach Texas.

Jane Roe: Norma McCorvey was the Dallas plaintiff in the landmark Roe v. Wade case, which legalized abortions. Later in life, McCorvey became religious and said her involvement in the case was “the biggest mistake” in her life.

Civil rights icon: After joining the organization in 1935, Juanita Craft helped organize 182 branches of the NAACP. In 1944, she became the first black woman in Dallas County to vote in a public election.

Guiding Light: After growing up in the area known as “Little Mexico,” Anita Martinez became the first Hispanic person elected to the Dallas City Council and the first Hispanic woman elected into the city council of a major United States city.

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