Father-son artist duo combine works of African American figures for 400th anniversary commemoration


HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — A Virginia father and son are using their artistic talents to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the first enslaved Africans brought to English North America.

Jerome and Jeromyah Jones have painted a number of portraits over the past 40 years.

Recently, they decided to combine 69 of the paintings of famous African American figures and symbolic artworks into a banner title “I Am 400” for this year’s commemoration.

“We’ve been given gifts in our life from the creator so we use those gifts for others that creates a blessing for everyone,” said Jerome Jones. 

The Jones’ say there are about 20 banners that hang in school districts, libraries, and other offices throughout the East Coast.

“Our mission is to share this education throughout the nation for 2019. It’s a creative way sharing who Africans were before coming to America, the 1619 to 2019 period we’re in, and the Golden Age to come,” Jeromyah said.

The family says they will donate another banner to Hampton University, where Jeromyah graduated from in 2011. 

The Jones’ hope that when people see the art, they will not only reflect on the well known figures, including some native Virginians, but lesser known figures who’s stories have gone untold.

“This is just like a minor example of how we can highlight that so everyone can appreciate who we are,” Jerome said.

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