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Juneteenth celebrates freedom

(Source KSWO) (Source KSWO)

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - The Juneteenth celebration was in full swing Saturday, celebrating the date the news reached Texas that the Emancipation Proclamation was signed, freeing the slaves in the U.S. The celebrations started with opening ceremonies at the Douglass Professional Development Center where 7NEWS own Medwatch reporter Tina Tyler hosted the event.

They also awarded special members of the community including Albert Johnson Sr., who was a founder of the Juneteenth celebration here in Lawton.

"To see Juneteenth from its initial start in this community back in the 30s, to see where it is now,” said Johnson. “So it's heartwarming to see people coming together to enjoy and celebrate Juneteenth."

After the ceremony, it was off to the Patterson Community Center where the real fun began. There were games, bounce houses, music and food, all free for the community.

Lawton Police Chief James Smith says it was important that the celebration had such a good turnout this year.

"It’s always important to learn where we came from, and they are our future leaders,” said Chief Smith. “It's always great to see young people come out and understand our past, present, and more importantly where we need to go from here."

After a proclamation from Lawton’s Mayor Fred Fitch, the celebration is officially named the Lawton-Fort Sill Juneteenth celebration.

Copyright 2016 KSWO. All rights reserved.

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