Artist Background - Jacob Lawrence
Jacob Lawrence was born on September 13, 1917, in New Jersey. Both of his parents Rose and Jacob Sr. were from the South. During WWI his parents migrated to the North. The family first moved to the rural section of Pennsylvania then into the city of Philadelphia. The pressures were great both racially and economically. Shortly after moving to Philadelphia, Jacob's father left the family. His mother had to work to support the family. Jacob had to baby-sit. She still struggled to take of her family. She thought it would be better in New York City. She left Philadelphia to look for work in New York. Jacob and his siblings spent some years in foster homes. Eventually they were reunited with their mother, in Harlem. During his teens he was actively involved in afterschool art programs. Jacob didn't really like school. He questioned the lack of interest for students to learn about African American heroes. He showed great interest Harriett Tubman and Toussaint L'Ouverture. His mother was concerned about how withdrawn he'd become. She enrolled him into formal art class. He was mentored and taught by Charles Alston who later became a professor at Howard University. This was a turning point for Jacob Lawrence. He was introduced to various artistic mediums which helped him to develop his own style. He has created several pieces over the years. Some include The Toussaint L'Ouverture Series, The Theater Series, This is Harlem Series, The Harriett Tubman and Migration Series. Mr. Lawrence died last year, 2000. His work is well known all over the country and across the waters in many other countries.