PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Thousands of people marched and lined the streets of Pittsburgh to celebrate Juneteenth on Saturday and preserve a turning point in African-American history.

A showing of freedom stretched across the city to commemorate Juneteenth, the federal holiday on June 19, marking the emancipation of enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, in 1865, and the day six months later, when the states ratified the 13th Amendment, ending slavery in the U.S.

At 77, Junyetta Seale marched for more than one mile, as the parade traveled from Freedom Corner in the Hill District to Point State Park downtown to remember that history and share it with those less familiar.

“Each step we take is going in the right direction,” Seale said. “To see all the young people marching, and the old people and people in wheelchairs with walkers and bikes, it’s just wonderful.”

The parade is part of a three-day festival founded by William B. Marshall 11 years ago. He said it’s a reenactment of a Pittsburgh parade from 1870.

“We learned about a great parade that was here called the Jubilee of Freemen parade, and it was about voting rights,” Seale said.

Along the procession, they continued to recognize those rights as well.

“We want to be able to celebrate in a way that says, ‘Look how much we’ve grown, look how much diversity really helps to move and improve an economy,'” Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey said.

It’s about celebrating growth, resilience, and an ongoing battle.

Ernest Ruffin is a Marine Corps veteran from Penn Hills.

“We recognize what had occurred. Now, we’re going to try to make assurance that it won’t happen again,” Ruffin said.

“I’m keeping on, keeping on, marching on, marching on, so we can all be free and equal and just and worthy,” Seale said.

The three-day event will close Sunday, with more festivities at Point State Park and Market Square starting at 11 a.m. 

The city’s celebration is set for the end of the month.