Kamala Harris

The Story Behind That Viral Illustration of Kamala Harris and Ruby Bridges

Artist Bria Goeller grew up in Louisiana, where Bridges was the first Black child to desegregate a school in 1960.

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There's so much history packed into a now-viral illustration that depicts Vice President-elect Kamala Harris walking next to a wall with her shadow transformed into the silhouette of a famous painting of civil rights activist Ruby Bridges.

The drawing, created by San Francisco-based artist Bria Goeller for satirical clothing company WTF America, is being shared widely, including by Bridges herself.

"I am Honored to be a part of this path and Grateful to stand alongside you, Together with Our fellow Americans, as we step into this Next Chapter of American History!" Bridges wrote on Instagram.

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What a wonderful, wonderful morning. This country chose (albeit not as unanimously as we'd hoped) to elect a team of individuals who are dedicated to compassion and equality. And .... I also woke up to, uh, way too many notifications. Turns out the Kamala design of mine and @goodtrubble's has gone ... viral? Which makes me so happy for Gordon, owner of WTF America (Good Trubble). He deserved this. And I cannot stress enough what a wonderful human and business partner he is. Just to clear up some misinformation (because that should be expected, and it's totally okay) ... the design was by myself and @goodtrubble. Not Kara Walker - although I can see how it's reminiscent of her, for sure! And I love her work. I designed it in Photoshop myself☺ We have the legal rights to it, and - yes - tagging and mentioning us is so so so appreciated. Spread the word where you can. Most importantly, if you want a shirt with this design on it, head over to wtfamerica2017.com (link in @goodtrubble's bio) and support a fantastic black-owned business in Sacramento. And if you want a print - lots of people have been asking. We're working on it!! Follow @goodtrubble and stay tuned. We'll announce it when or if we do! I'll get to responding to all of your wonderful messages and follows and comments soon. But for now I'm tackling @goodtrubble's page, and enjoying THE FANTASTIC NEWS. Here's to the future.

A post shared by Bria Goeller (@briagoeller) on

Bridges, now 66, was 6 years old when she became the first Black child to desegregate Louisiana's William Frantz Elementary School in 1960. This moment was famously depicted in a 1964 painting by artist Norman Rockwell called "The Problem We All Live With." In the illustration, Bridges narrowly misses being hit by flying fruit and is flanked for protection by several grown men, whose shoulders and heads are cut off.

Goeller paid tribute to Bridges in an Instagram post after she shared her art.

"Ruby. I cannot begin to express what it means to me that a hero like you is thanking me," she wrote. "The WORLD thanks you. I am beyond honored to be a small part of this beautiful moment in history, but the praise goes to leaders like you. You have always been an inspiration to me."

Goeller said she grew up in Louisiana and that Bridges was a "large part of my understanding of its history."

"I was in awe of your determination as a young girl and I am equally so now. Keep standing tall. You have brought strength to so many. And you continue to do so now," she wrote. "Much love. You deserve it all."

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Last year, the 59th anniversary of when Bridges made her historic walk into an elementary school, TODAY anchor Hoda Kotb reflected on her impact.

"Ruby Bridges is an incredible human being..." she wrote on Twitter. "I had a chance to interview her when I was a reporter in New Orleans — my daughters will know her name."

Like Bridges before her, Harris is also breaking barriers. As of Saturday, she will be the first woman to hold the U.S.'s second-highest office. She's also the first Black American and South Asian American to do so.

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