LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Despite the heat and humidity, hundreds gathered at Brandon Park to celebrate a day that holds strong significance in Texas history.
June 19, is known as Juneteenth. Outside of Texas it does not mean much, but all across the state it is celebrated as the day slaves learned of their freedom. It would be the official end of slavery in the U.S. The year was 1865. According to the official Juneteenth website, On June 19, Union General Gordon Granger and his troops made landfall in Galveston. Granger delivered General Order Number 3 that the war had ended and that slaves were officially free:
According to leaders of the Lufkin event,This years was one of the biggest they have seen. Brandon Park was filled with bounce houses and activities for children. As children bounced and played, Bishop Oscar Dixon, of Overcomers Through Faith, spoke from the stage.
"Juneteenth celebrates African American freedom and emphasizes achievement and education," Dixon said. "There is an old saying that bad news spreads like wild fire and good news travels slow. It was slow, and that's what it is. It was traveling slow. It finally got down here and we ought to be enjoying this time where God allowed us to be free."
This year's Lufkin event had a new supporter. Sitting by his green Cadillac he has owned since high school, former Lufkin Panther standout Jorvorskie Lane watched the people enjoying their time while he chatted with life ling friends. As his NFL career started to wind down, Lane started taking a more active role in giving back to his hometown.
"I deal with the youth a lot and the youth is our future," Lane said. "My son is here, my cousins and my friends and it is important for me to show them the new look," Lane said. "i just turned 30 years old. I went to college and played professional sports and now I am moving into another area of my life. With my leadership role and the people I surround myself with, they thought it was important I come in and help."
For Lane, it is not about getting his name out there but honoring and preserving the past.
"We have a lot of people that have lost their lives over freedom," Lane said. "You know it is one of those things that you have to keep it alive. You have to keep it alive on the educational standpoint where you come from."
lane of hope was joined by The Lufkin chapter of the NAACP, Concerned Black Men of Lufkin, Angelina County Citizens Chamber of Commerce, Top Ladies of Distinction, Commissioner Kenneth Timmons, Church Christ Jesus, City of Lufkin, Lufkin Coca-Cola, Abundant Life Church, First Missionary Baptist Church and Overcomers through Faith."