City of Fort Worth pledges $15 million to build National Juneteenth Museum

The Fort Worth City Council approved a resolution pledging its support for a planned National Juneteenth Museum. That includes millions of dollars from the city to build it.

The resolution calls for a city investment of one-third of the cost to get the Juneteenth Museum up and running. That could bring the city's investment up to $15 million.

The goal is to have the museum open to the public within two years.

The city of Fort Worth on Tuesday pledged its support for the National Juneteenth Museum that’s planned for the Historic Southside in Fort Worth.

The city council unanimously voted to spend up $15 million on the project.

 "A lot of people may not know what’s about to happen on Evans and Rosedale, but it’s going to be a state-of-the-art museum," said Councilman Chris Nettles.

Renderings unveiled for Fort Worth's National Juneteenth Museum

Announced last fall, the 50,000-square-foot museum will feature architecture honoring the historic neighborhood and an interactive timeline where visitors can explore each state’s connection to Juneteenth.

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While the city's $15 million commitment is contingent on the museum raising the other $55 million of the roughly $70 million price tag, museum leaders hope this gives them momentum towards that goal.

"It gives us more options, more things that we can do. More doors open," said Vice Chair of the Museum’s Board Dr. Angela Mitchell. "And just the support to know that the city of Fort Worth is supporting what we’re doing is huge."

Both Nettles and Mayor Mattie Parker acknowledged the project would not exist without the efforts of one tireless 96-year-old icon.

"Thank you, Dr. Opal Lee, for all your work. I think it’s important that we just give her a round of applause today," Nettles said.

Known as the godmother of Juneteenth, Opal Lee has walked countless miles in both Fort Worth and Washington, D.C. to push for Juneteenth to become a national holiday. In 2021, she watched President Joe Biden make that dream a reality.

The new museum will replace the existing Juneteenth Museum opened by Lee nearly 20 years ago.

Mitchell says her team has a long way to go and a lot of donors to find before they can finalize a timeline on construction.