Google is spotlighting Juneteenth in its latest Google Doodle. Detroit-based artist Rachelle Baker created the art to honor the true end of slavery in the U.S. on June 19, 1865. On Thursday, Juneteenth became a federal holiday. Baker's illustration symbolizes Juneteenth through images of Black joy such as parades, music, food, and Black community. It also weaves in details such as decorative ironwork to honor Black artists' contributions to southern architecture, which both enslaved and formerly enslaved people often created.
On Saturday, Google's search page featured an homage to Juneteenth with artwork created by Detroit-based artist Rachelle Baker that was centered on Black joy and artistic contributions. The Doodle art featured an homage to Black artistic contributions by alluding to decorative ironwork, which includes styles that can be found throughout southern architecture and was often forged by enslaved African Americans and unrecognized freedmen. The artwork includes images of parades, music, food and community from past and present. Baker said she was inspired by family photo albums, illuminated letters and intaglio prints, a printing process that typically uses an etched or engraved plate. "I looked at tons of photos and art illustrating some of the first ever Juneteenth celebration, as well as celebrations, parades, and festivities from recent years," Baker said in a note.
Your Google homepage is ready for Juneteenth (even if the federal government somehow still doesn't acknowledge the long-celebrated holiday). On the 155th anniversary of Juneteenth, Google debuted a new video Doodle for the holiday, which marks the true end of chattel slavery in the United States. Though the Emancipation Proclamation was signed in 1863, the abolition of chattel slavery had a much slower and more complicated end than many realize, as Angelica McKinley, Google's project creative director for the Doodle, pointed out in a blog post. Confederate states defied the executive order years after it was mandated, and it wasn't until enslaved people in Galveston, Texas (which was relatively far from other parts of the Confederate South) heard news of their freedom that chattel slavery as a practice actually "ended." However, plenty of people still think that the Emancipation Proclamation was a cure-all that magically eliminated chattel slavery, McKinley notes.
Along with many other corporations suddenly moved to demonstrate a deeper understanding of issues facing Black people in the US, this year is the first time Google's posting a doodle for Juneteenth. An official state holiday in Texas, Juneteenth takes place every June 19th, in honor of the day in 1865 when a Union general proclaimed all slaves in the state were now free. It came months after the defeat of the Confederate states, and more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed, but before the ratification of the 13th Amendment abolished slavery (with a notable exception) in December of the same year. The doodle Google has on its homepage today for US visitors is a video, designed by artist in residence Loveis Wise, accompanied by LeVar Burton reading the first verse of Lift Every Voice and Sing. For those unfamiliar with this Second Independence Day and its significance, Google has also launched a set of related responses for Assistant, while its Arts & Culture unit has teamed up with the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture for a new exhibit that you can experience here.
Google recognizes Juneteenth with a video Doodle, designed by guest artist Loveis Wise. The video is set to the first verse of the poem "Lift Every Voice and Sing" by writer James Weldon Johnson, read by actor LeVar Burton, and music by producer Elijah Jamal. Opening with an illustrated image of General Order No. 3 being held by hands over a cotton field, the Doodle continues to depict important achievements in American history for the Black community. From becoming landowners to getting the right to vote to the Civil Rights movement, the video crescendos with a celebratory note of unity and emphasizing the need to continue to push for progress. Let it resound loud as the rolling sea.