Richmond father and son duo's Juneteenth art featured by Google

Richmond father and son duo's Juneteenth art featured by Google
Posted at 8:43 PM, Jun 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-20 21:34:56-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- A piece of artwork created by a Richmond father and son was the featured Google Doodle to mark Juneteenth.

Juneteenth is the country's newest federal holiday and commemorates the day, June 19, 1865 when the last slaves were freed in Galveston, Texas.

Jerome W. Jones, Jr. and his son, Jeromyah Jones, have decades between them as artists and have collaborated together since 2009 either in shared galleries or joint pieces of art.

Their most recent work, the doodle, came about when Jeromyah approached the tech company about featuring their pieces from a 2018 exhibit "I am 400" marking 400 years since the arrival of the first Africans in America, but was told they only use original pieces.

"I think it was sometime during February, when they reached back to us to let us know that they were interested in us doing the doodle," said Jeromyah. "And it also falls on Father's Day, so they thought that was a perfect fit. So, that worked out perfect."

The Joneses said they drew several draft ideas and sent them to the company before landing on the final piece that was featured.

As to what is in the final piece — that is best described by a poem Jeromyah Jones composed after it was finished:

"Our visual content, it shows a park of tents,

Graced with the feet of free women and men.

With water just flowing with faith and order,

No longer can slavery define those borders.

We see a father holding up his son next to a joyful daughter,

Ready to fly with the news her people taught her.

To the left we see a family knit together in the fabric of love,

With a sister clapping her hands to what the drum is speaking of.

And beyond the sea, you know there's a family tree,

With a hand painting in the steps of the root and offspring.

And then, to the right of the center,

There's something we can't forget to remember.

There's a Sankofa bird who turns to the page of emancipation from the book of inspiration.

And that's our 2022 Juneteenth illustration."

The Joneses said they took inspiration from their lives, places they have been, and the people they have met to incorporate into the painting.

"One of the reasons that we did [the people] in silhouette, or you don't see the faces in there, is because we take the personal to make a universal, so it could represent any of our people that understand the struggles and in the journey of coming to emancipation," said Jerome, who added Byrd Park (where they spoke with CBS 6) was among the inspirations. "That was our way of incorporating the story of our people of coming through troubled waters — not just the Middle Passage, but after coming here to America. Like Harriet Tubman taking the journey to free some of the enslaved and they will walk through through rivers and waters to hid the scent. And so, that's why you see the footstep here that represents that journey. One foot on land and one partially in water and one out. And so when we say painting in the footsteps of our ancestors, we're taking the history and make it visible so the descendants today can make the history livable."

The younger Jones adds that he hopes those who do not understand the history of the Middle Passage, the middle leg of the Atlantic slave trade that took Africans from their home countries to the Americas, will take time to learn about it, noting the strength and courage it took to go from the slave trade to gaining freedom.

"We can be inspired to go from the Middle Passage to writing a new passage to inspire future generations that understand our greatness," said Jeromyah.



Watch 'The Jennifer Hudson Show' weekdays at 3 p.m. on CBS 6!

📱 Download CBS 6 News App
The app features breaking news alerts, live video, weather radar, traffic incidents, closings and delays and more.