LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration in the U.S. that commemorates the ending of slavery. For countless East Texans it signifies freedom, humanity and a more united future.
Countless party goers celebrating at Brandon Park and Parkwood Place told KTRE America has come a very long way.
"When I left Texas I was on the back of the bus, I came back on the front seat. That's a long ways," said Ann Shelton, party goer.
Ann Shelton said the world is a different place than she remembers growing-up. "All races are coming together and when I left it wasn't nothing like that, so it's come a long ways," said Shelton.
A journey that echoes through each generation, proving times have changed. "The world has changed and people are a lot nicer I guess," said David Johnson, 7th grader.
From the young to the elderly, both agree times have changed. "People shouldn't be judged what color they are, we're all human beings in one way," said David.
"There's no black and white to me," said Brother Bob, celebrating Juneteenth.
On this day, hundreds of people are celebrating the importance of Juneteenth. "Humanity was freed and they were no longer traded like cattle on the open market," said Brother Bob.
People are remembering the past while celebrating the present. "Now we went from the back of the bus to the White House, now that's a good feeling!" said Shelton.
People said they're looking towards a bright, united future. "Better, I mean everything is always getting better!" said Jessica Shoulders, party goer. When asked how so, she laughed and said, "that's just life!"
"It's good now, but I really think, I have trust and believe in the Lord, it's going to get better and better and better, that all of God's children be together," said Shelton.