Third Ward is home to Black businesses, HBCUs, historical landmarks in music & culture, and of course the historical Jack Yates Lions’ Highschool. February 6th, proved to be no different. The involvement of the community came together to bring one JY alum’s artwork to life on Alabama St.

Home to Debbie Allen, Big Moe, Phylicia Rashad, Joseph Young, Jewel Brown, and the late George Floyd; a mural reading Black Lives Matter sits perfectly in front, showing the iconic JY Lion in front and George Floyd’s football Jersey with the number 88, at the end. Also showing his birth to death dates.  According to state Sen. Borris Miles [referencing Floyd], “It took a little boy from Cuney Homes, to rock the world,” he continued, “It took a little boy from Cuney Homes to wake up our eyes across this nation.”

On May 25th of 2020, the world would be brought to their knees as Floyd was brutally murdered by police for allegedly trying to pass a counterfeit bill to a store clerk. Derek Chauvin, one of four police who came to the scene, knelt on Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. Floyd was an All-Star in sports and in his community, often being revered as Big Floyd the mentor, protector and rapper (S.U.C). The New York Times described his lyricism as purposeful, as he always incorporated his Third Ward experiences and life within his music. He even helped with Trae tha Truth’s foundation Angel By Nature on various projects and delivering meals to those who needed it. A true legend in our community whose life was cut short. Marches, protest and voices were made throughout all 50 states, and internationally to combat police brutality specifically against black people.

Across the nation several murals were made, but this one hit home, because it was. The mural completed and unveiled Saturday, Feb. 6th honored Floyd and every black person whose life truly matters. According to the Houston Chronicle, Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis and the Houston Society for Change commissioned Jonah Elijah, a 2012 Jack Yates High School graduate, to design and paint the mural. Elijah last year earned a master’s degree in fine arts from Claremont Graduate University in Southern California.”

U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee, fellow Houstonian, presented Elijah with a certificate of congressional recognition and gave members of the Floyd family a copy of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020, which was passed in June by the U.S. House to increase law enforcement accountability and police reform. Though, did not go to the Senate.

Lee said  that she wanted the world to know that the history of our people isn’t engulfed in death but glory. She continued that, “It is wrapped up in success, it’s wrapped up in leadership, it’s wrapped up in courage.”

After the completion of the iconic crimson and gold mural, Jonah Elijah took to instagram to express his gratitude for the community and honor for George Floyd. “It wasn’t just me, it was we. Better yet the community. I appreciate the love from everybody man. I’m tired as hell. Yates is one big family. I love my Yates family. A bunch of Lions and Lioness …Kings and Queens in this jungle like world. #3rdWardHigh #JYFly Rest in Peace Big George. We love you. You a legend. That was our brother.”

Be sure to follow Elijah’s instagram below to view more pictures from that truly inspirational, motivational, all around beautiful day and his iconic artwork. #3rdWardsFinest

Photos obtained from Jonah.Elijah’s Instagram: 



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