LAWTON, OK (KSWO)- This weekend people across the nation are commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. Juneteenth is observed on June 19, but Lawton Fort Sill held an early city-wide celebration on Saturday.
"If we are going to move forward you must know where you've been," said Bishop John Dunaway. "You have to know what has happened to keep you there and then you have to have the steps to take you out of there."
Dunaway said the celebration is just another step towards keeping African American history alive.
Saturday's ceremony featured historical presentations and remarks from leaders in the community like Lawton's Mayor Fred Fitch and Councilwoman Onreka Johnson.
Dunaway said the goal was to take a trip back in time.
"To remember where we came and put vision to where we are going," he said.
The event also featured musical presentations and dances. Visitors then continued the festivities at the Patterson Center Community Center
Dunaway said although they are a celebrating today it's important to never forget the past.
"It gives a chance not only to have fun and fellowship and socialize but it also gives a chance young and old to increase their knowledge of our history and African American history," he said.