It was in his neighborhood in Harlem where Jacob first learned of some things that interested him. One day he came upon a man standing on the street corner lecturing to a crowd about black history. He had heard some of it before but this time:
They related these events and people to what was happening in my own life . . . I could see that because we had no history, blacks felt inferior. We weren’t in physical slavery, but we were certainly in economic and psychological slavery.
Lawrence became motivated, running to the library, he researched the men and times he had heard about. He decided to find out for himself what his people’s history was. When he found out he became inspired to tell others.