American Social History Project • Center for Media and Learning

Teaching With Jacob Lawrence's Migration Series

Published February 10, 2011

Donna Thompson Ray, American Social History Project
CUNY, Graduate Center

In this three-part video podcast, ASHP/CML’s Donna Thompson Ray shares the benefit of her area of expertise with New York City Department of Education teachers in a discussion about the work of artist Jacob Lawrence.  Eliciting contributions from teachers, Thompson Ray leads a conversation about Lawrence’s Migration Series and how educators can, and do, use the images in the series to teach students about the Great Migration.  She discusses Lawrence’s own experiences with migration and the art of the Harlem Renaissance, how the Great Migration was experienced by those who took part in it, conditions that caused it, and how it affected people’s lives.  In the process, Thompson Ray models a close reading of select images from the series, demonstrating how teachers might use the work to deepen their students’ understanding of the era.

The images shown here are from The Phillips Collection.  For more on the Great Migration go to Up South: African-American Migration in the Era of the Great War.

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