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Retired Houston ISD art teacher paints mural about Emancipation Proclamation ahead of Juneteenth

"Educate people, especially kids, on racism," said Moses Adams. "And you can do that, I can do that, through art. Kids learn quickly through seeing pictures."

HOUSTON — The global coronavirus pandemic continues to affect the way we celebrate many things in life.

Moses Adams Jr. worked hard to create a 4-foot by 6-foot mural that celebrates the end of slavery in the United States of America. Adams hoped to share his artwork with Houston on June 19, but due to the pandemic, many Juneteenth celebrations are happening virtually.

So, KHOU11 wanted to share Adams' artwork, in case anyone needed another way to learn more about this chapter of American history.

Adams has dedicated his life to teaching art. The 73-year-old grew up in a segregated America. And because of that, his education was limited.

"Because I never had the opportunity to have an art teacher and in high school and elementary school."

He graduated high school and served in the U.S. Army before he was honorably discharged. Adams earned a bachelor's degree in art education from Texas Southern University. He taught art at Looscan Elementary in Houston ISD for 27 years.

"What my lesson is in art is, create something that you like."

The freelance artist is now creating pieces that are rich in American history. From Terracotta clay sculptures of Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass to a mural spotlighting the end of slavery and the importance of Juneteenth.

Credit: Moses Adams Jr.

"Right where I have my finger, that’s the North star. That’s what all the slaves used to escape slavery. To go north," said Adams as he described his mural during a video chat with KHOU. "This guy here, Robert Smalls, him and four other slaves they stole a slave steamboat ship. They went down the Mississippi River to escape slavery."

The mural is made up of 33 notable people and moments that led up to the U.S. abolishing slavery.

"Anna Maria Weems, right here, dressed as a boy but she was a girl. She escaped slavery at 15-years old."

Credit: Moses Adams Jr.

Identification of Adams' Emancipation Proclamation Mural

1.    Slave ships arriving from Africa on the East Coast

2.    Slave owners receiving slaves from smaller boat to the docks.

2a.  Slave suction

3.    Sen. Trumbull US Congressman passed a bill to make slaves a US Citizen

4.    Northern and Southern States went to war over slavery

5.    Harriet Tubman, a slave who helped over 300 slaves escape through the UGRR using the North Star as a guide going north.

6.    Harriet Tubman with rifle and slaves

7.    Frederick Douglas became an educated slave who escaped slavery, and became a speaker, writer, and editor of a black Newspaper “The North Star”

8.    Dred Scott, a slave taken from the Slave State of Missouri to a free state, Illinois, Minnesota, and back to Missouri

9.    Levi and Katie Coffin, UGRR members from Newport Fountain City Ind. helped slaves escape

10.    Elizabeth Cady Stanton fought against slavery

11.    Henry “BoxCar” Brown escaped slaves in a wooden box shipped on a train with the help of a white shoemaker named Samuel Smith

12.    Ann Maria Weems escaped slavery dressed as a boy carriage driver at 15 years old

13.    Robert Smalls stole a large steamboat ship at night with four other slaves to escape slavery

14.    The White House in Washington, D.C. in the 1800s

15.    President Abraham Lincoln and his cabinet members signing the Emancipation Proclamation

16.    Slaves who were captured attempting to escape, hat to wear a metal helmet with bells

17.    Railroad tracks with train

18.    Quilt on clothesline used a map for slaves to guide them through the UGRR

19.    Black women praying for freedom

20.    Wagon loaded with bricks on top and slaves underneath escaping slavery

21.    American Indians in the clouds who were here in American before American slaves arrived. 

22.    General orders from President Abraham Lincoln stated, “all slaves are free” 

23.    General Granger from Galveston, Texas delivered message on June 19th, 1865 that all slaves are free

24.    Reverend C.  Anderson David celebrated slave’s freedom on the 19th of June which became Juneteenth

25.    Miller outdoor theater in Herman Park

26.    Al Edwards state representative introduced house bill 1016 making Juneteenth a state holiday in Texas 

27.    HOUSE BILL 1016 of 1979 introduced the state house of representatives as a state holiday for Texas

28.    US Congressman Al Green commemoration on June 19th, 2014 in Washington, D.C.

29.    Emancipation Park Center on Emancipation Blvd used to celebrate Juneteenth activities

30.    Canadian Flag

31.    The “North Star” 

32.    The state capitol in Austin, Texas

33.    Scroll Document that President Abraham Lincoln wrote and signed the Emancipation Proclamation on January 2, 1863.

"Educate people, especially kids in school, on racism. And you can do that, I can do that through art. See kids learn quickly through seeing pictures."

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