The Great Migration: An American Story by Jacob LawrenceThe Great Migration: An American Story by Jacob Lawrence

The Great Migration: An American Story

byJacob Lawrence

Paperback | September 15, 1995

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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.

  • ALA Notable Book
  • ALA Booklist Editors’ Choice
  • IRA/CBC Teachers' Choice
  • Notable Children's Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies (NCSS/CBC)
  • Carter G. Woodson Outstanding Merit Book
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, Seatt...
Title:The Great Migration: An American StoryFormat:PaperbackDimensions:48 pages, 9 × 10.81 × 0.12 inPublished:September 15, 1995Publisher:HarperCollins

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0064434281

ISBN - 13:9780064434287

Appropriate for ages: 9 - 12


From Our Editors

In 1940 the American artist Jacob Lawrence chronicled this journey of hope in a flowing narrative sequence of paintings. They are divided between the collections of The Museum of Modern Art in New York and The Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C. After more than 20 years, The Phillips Collection mounted the first exhibition of all 60 paintings, touring museums around the country.

Editorial Reviews

“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.”