Harriet Tubman descendant on Juneteenth: ‘We have to continue the fight’ for freedom

Daniels is the great, great grandniece of abolitionist leader Harriet Tubman. She understands the significance of freedom as it relates to the American civil rights movement.

News 12 Staff

Jun 19, 2022, 11:34 PM

Updated 754 days ago

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The Ruby and Calvin African American History Museum in Stratford has opened doors to some of America’s most painful history. 
Mary McBride Lee’s dress is a part of a new permanent exhibit. She is Bridgeport’s civil rights leader who was at the foot of the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Alabama on Bloody Sunday.  
McBride Lee reflected on the importance of Juneteenth with News 12’s Frank Recchia. 
“It’s our Fourth of July,” explains McBride Lee. “We were liberated on this day in 1865. So to me it means freedom.” 
Rita Daniels echoed the sentiment, “This is a time we celebrate our freedom.” 
Daniels is the great, great grandniece of abolitionist leader Harriet Tubman. She understands the significance of freedom as it relates to the American civil rights movement. 
“They call it Juneteenth because many people did not know they were free,” says Daniels. “Some didn’t find out for months or maybe even two years or more.” 
Daniels says the fight for freedom must continue. 
“Freedom is something that we fight for – and we have to continue the fight,” explains Daniels. 
Greenwich resident Leora Levy says growing up in the south as child, “I saw the effects of prejudice and discrimination.” 
Levy was a young girl during the time of segregation. As a teenager, she hated racism and embraced the historical significance of June 19th, 1865. She says it acknowledged every “American was free and entitled and given those rights by God.” 
Levy says more and more people, no matter their background, are understanding and appreciating the importance of Juneteenth as a great American holiday. 


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