The Great Migration: An American Story

The Great Migration: An American Story

by Jacob Lawrence


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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

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780064434287
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 09/15/1995
Series: Trophy Picture Bks.
Pages: 48
Sales rank: 473,564
Product dimensions: 10.81(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.12(d)
Lexile: 830L (what's this?)
Age Range: 4 - 8 Years

About the Author

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.

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Great Migration: An American Story 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
tess_schoolmarm on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book chronicles the African-American movement from the south to northern industrial cities after WWI. Not only does it tell how cities like Chicago, Pittsburgh and Detroit appealed to these black migrants, there are over 60 works of art which depict the story. This is a pictorial history with a great story. The guidelines say ages 4-8, but I use this to supplement the concept for 8th graders (great migration) and they love it!
JoseDelAguila on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A series of paintings chronicles the journey of African Americans who, like the artist's family, left the rural South in the early twentieth century to find a better life in the industrial North.
Bookwormeater on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book would be great to teach students about the great migration of black people. Every picture has a sentence by it describing what was happening.