When Google overlooked Juneteenth, Georgia artist filled in the blank

Columbus cartoonist Davian Chester’s ‘doodle’ has gone viral in big way

Black history often gets ignored in the classroom. This week, it was overlooked by another powerful influence in America: the Google doodle.

Google has a staff dedicated to churning out new Google doodles on its homepage every day. Those “Doodlers” often commemorate holidays, special events, achievements, and moments in history with their creations.

But they let Juneteenth, which was Wednesday, go by unheralded. Juneteenth marks the day, June 19, 1865, that Union Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger rode into Galveston, Texas, to announce to slaves they were free. The news arrived  two-and-a-half years after President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. African-Americans started the Juneteenth tradition to commemorate the end of slavery in the United States.

Instead of Juneteenth, Google artists celebrated the 158th birthday of Filipino author and physician José Rizal.

So, a young artist and art teacher from Columbus, Ga., helped them out. Davian Chester of Columbus, Ga., reimagined the Google doodle to celebrate Juneteenth as two hands breaking free of their chains. 

“I just want more people to be informed about Juneteenth. I noticed each year more and more people do not know about it,” said Chester, taking a brief break Thursday from a an art project. “And it could be because it's not being taught like it should be. It is just as important as other details in our history of America.”

Social media loves Chester’s doodle; his tweet of the illustration garnered 40,000 retweets and 95,000 likes as of Thursday afternoon. 

You can see his other work on Instagram.

A graphic designer and illustrator, Chester created the cover art for Decatur children’s author Morgan Young’s book Lana & the Water Carrier. He also has taught art to kids in Columbus. 

About the Author

Maureen Downey
Maureen Downey
Maureen Downey has written editorials and opinion pieces about local, state and federal education policy since the 1990s.
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