While various companies unexpectedly moved to demonstrate a deeper awareness of the problems facing Black people in the World, Google joined the commemoration of Juneteenth’s 155th anniversary with a Google Doodle video.
Juneteenth has its origins in Texas’ long-awaited moment of emancipation, where more than 250,000 enslaved black people were liberated on June 19, 1865.
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The Doodle — in collaboration with artist Loveis Wise, music producer Elijah Jamal and narrator LeVar Burton — aims to educate people who are not familiar with this part of history.
Set to the first verse of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” the video starts with the order Union Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger read the group of enslaved people in Texas. The official told the oppressed people they were liberated through the General Order No. 3.
Over 90 seconds, the video shows scenes of black people in the past and present, doing stuff like hanging out in a park, voting, and getting married.
Google has also released a series of similar responses for Assistant for those unfamiliar with this Second Independence Day and its meaning. Its Arts & Culture unit also partnered with the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture to create a new exhibit online.
Although the proclamation of emancipation was signed in 1863, Google pointed out that the abolition of chattel slavery was a much slower and more complicated end than many realize.
Angélique McKinley, the creative director of the Doodle project for Google, wrote in a blog post that many believe the Declaration of Emancipation magically abolished chattel slavery. Still, she noted the history taught in grade school for decades is not the case at all.
“At its best, this limited narrative reduces the struggle for Black liberation in America to a singular moment,” McKinley said. “And at its worst, it perpetuates an incomplete truth that robs every American of understanding what actually happened after slavery was reformed,” she added.
In the years since, as McKinley alludes to, the original chattel slavery system has morphed into other unjust systems continuing to discriminate on the Black people in the United States.
Although Juneteenth offers a day to remember, McKinley noted that “Juneteenth’s absence in the mainstream U.S. historical narrative has made it an unknown holiday to many for decades.”
Recently, the public has indeed taken note of the holiday. Google’s search interest in “Juneteenth meaning” has spiked over 800 percent in the past week, and Juneteenth hit an all-time high search, Mashable reported.
Google announced a series of commitments to improve racial equity in its workplace, including increasing the number of underrepresented leadership groups. The tech giant provided more than $175 million in an economic opportunity package to support Black business owners, start-up founders, job seekers, and developers.
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