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Gift of the Lorillard Tobacco Co, NY 1976.1000.5
© The Jacob and Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence Foundation, Seattle / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Catalogue raisonné: Nesbett L74-3
This print is part of a portfolio issued to celebrate the American Bicentennial, in which leading American artists were asked to create works that spoke to their interpretation of independence.
This print builds upon a theme from Jacob Lawrence's earlier painted Migration Series (1941), in which he treated the history of Black Americans who migrated to the North in large numbers after the first world war. Lawrence wrote of the series: "To me, migration means movement. There was conflict and struggle. But out of the struggle came a kind of power and even beauty." Made with a complex layering of eight colors, the screenprint shows African Americans exercising their right to vote, a practice that was suppressed through the mechanisms of systemic racism in the American South. Voters from a cross-section of the population socialize or read as they wait their turn.
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