Happy Birthday Jacob Lawrence!

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Happy Birthday Jacob Lawrence!

African American artist Jacob Lawrence was born on September 7, 1917.

Lawrence was born in Atlantic City, NJ and as a teen moved to New York City. After dropping out of high school, Lawrence attended classes at the Harlem Art Workshop, the Harlem Community Art Center, and received a scholarship to the American Artists School and worked for the newly created Works Progress Administration. Lawrence completed one of his most famous works in his early twenties. His “Migration Series” shows the struggles southern African Americans experienced as they journeyed to the north from 1915-1930.

During the Second World War, Lawrence enlisted in the United States coast guard. In 1970 Lawrence settled in Seattle, Washington and became an art professor at the University of Washington.

Lawrence was honored as an artist, teacher, and humanitarian when the NAACP awarded him the Spingarn Medal in 1970 for his many achievements.  Presently, Lawrence’s “The Builders” hangs in the White House Green room.

Jacob Lawrence died on June 9, 2000.

Learn more about Lawrence at http://www.whitney.org/jacoblawrence/ and read the Great Migration story to your kids.

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