Google marked the 155th anniversary of Juneteenth with a new Doodle on Friday (June 19).
In the video clip, LeVar Burton narrates the lyrics to classic hymn “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” colloquially known as the Black national anthem. “Lift ev’ry voice and sing/ ‘Til Earth and heaven ring/ Ring with the harmonies of liberty/ Let our rejoicing rise/ High as the listening skies/ Let it resound loud as the rolling sea/ Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us/ Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us,” Burton recites as the video illustrates moments both crucial and mundane in America’s long road to racial equality.
“We wanted to take people through the experience of gaining freedom as a Black person in America. And to see how, across generations, that freedom has been a push and pull,” said Google art director Angelica McKinley in a behind-the-scenes clip about the Doodle’s creation. “You can see in the Doodle from the moment we step into that first Juneteenth that happened in 1865 to today, there’s been that ebb and flow of freedom’s won, backtracking and then pushing forward.”
Originally a state holiday in Texas, Juneteenth commemorates the reading of General Order No. 3 by Union Major General Gordon in the city of Galveston, ending the practice of slavery in the state. While President Abraham Lincoln had issued the Emancipation Proclamation nearly two and half years earlier, the freeing of enslaved Black people had been a slow and stubborn process in the isolated, southernmost state of the Confederacy. Slavery in the United States officially ended six months later upon the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment on Dec. 6, 1865.
Watch Google’s Juneteenth Doodle, as well as the behind-the-scenes footage of its creation, below.