This critically acclaimed picture book suitable for a wide range of readers chronicles the Great Migration—the diaspora of African Americans who headed to the North after WWI—through the iconic paintings and words of renowned artist Jacob Lawrence. The New York Times praised it as "a compassionate and sensitive portrayal of history.”
After World War I, large numbers of African Americans began leaving their homes in the rural South in search of employment, and a better life, in the industrial cities of the North like Chicago and Pittsburgh.
Jacob Lawrence chronicled their journey of hope in his sixty-panel Migration Series, a flowing narrative sequence of paintings that can now be found divided between the Museum of Modern Art and the Phillips Collection.
In this profound picture book, Lawrence brings all those landmark paintings together and pairs them with poetic text that further explores the experience of those enduring this mass exodus. From dealing with poor working conditions and competition for living space to widespread prejudice and racism, this is the story of strength, courage, and hope of the more than six million African Americans who were trying to build better lives for themselves and their families.
This book features an introduction from Lawrence—whose family was part of this great migration—about its personal significance as well as a poem by Newbery Honor author Walter Dean Myers.
Jacob Lawrence is a prominent American painter whose career spans six decades. He is known for several sequences of narrative paintings, including "Harriet Tubman" and "Frederick Douglass." Lawrence is the illustrator of Harriet in the Promised Land, a picture book. He is Professor Emeritus of Art at the University of Washington, Seattle.
“A compassionate and sensitive portrayal of history.” — The New York Times
“This pictorial history remains as relevant and moving today as it was more than 50 years ago. A memorable work.” — The Washington Post
“Lawrence’s starkly poetic art works admirably on many levels. A moving, inspiring, educational book.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“A stirring picture book.” — ALA Booklist (starred review)
“A splendid and unique visual evocation of a significant historical movement.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Perfectly pitched to balance the gripping facts and moving graphics. A brave book.” — Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“A significant and unforgettable book.” — The Horn Book
“The paintings evoke fear and hope and transmit the courage of those who left behind everything they had known in order to find a better life. An exceptional title.” — School Library Journal