African American Hero of the Day

African American Almanac
ISBN: 9781578593231
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Which twentieth-century painter gained acclaim for creating biographical panel series commemorating chapters of African American history?

  • He was formally trained at the Harlem Art School and the American Artist School.
  • His works are displayed at such museums as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the National Museum of American Art.
  • Among his panel series are The Life of Harriet Tubman (1939) and The Negro Migration Northward in World War (1942).
  • He was commissioned by the U.S. government to create a work of art commemorating the 1976 Bicentennial.


Jacob Lawrence (1917-2000)

Painter

Born on September 7, 1917, in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Jacob Lawrence received his early training at the Harlem Art School and the American Artist School. His rise to prominence was ushered in by his series of biographical panels commemorating important episodes in African American history. Capturing the essential meaning behind a historical moment or personality, Lawrence created several series, each consisting of dozens of small paintings that depict a particular event in American history, such as The Migration Series (" ... and the Migrants keep coming"), which traces the migration of the African American from the South to the North, or the events of a person's life (e.g., Toussaint L'Ouverture and John Brown). A narrative painter, Lawrence related the "philosophy of Impressionism" in his work.

Lawrence was a visual American historian. His paintings record the African American in trade, theater, mental hospitals, neighborhoods, or running in the Olympic races. Lawrence's works are found in such collections as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the National Museum of American Art, and the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, Connecticut.

Lawrence's notable works include The Life of Toussaint L'Ouverture (forty-one panels; 1937); The Life of Harriet Tubman (forty panels; 1939); and The Negro Migration Northward in World War (sixty panels; 1942). His commissioned work in later years include a print for the 1976 U.S. Bicentennial, an invitation to paint the presidential inauguration of Jimmy Carter, illustrations for John Hersey's special edition book Hiroshima in 1983, and a poster for the National Urban League in 1984.

Lawrence was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 1990. He died on June 9, 2000.

From African American Almanac: 400 Years of Triumph, Courage and Excellence by Lean'tin Bracks, (c) 2012 Visible Ink Press(R). A wealth of milestones, inspiration, and challenges met . . .

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