Jacob Lawrence

This learning block represents one week’s work. Aim to watch at least one video and choose at least one activity or project to complete. 

Start with this video to learn a bit more about Jacob Lawrence’s life and work.

Now choose an Activity

Make a Story Street Scene

Jacob Lawrence was known for his scenes of everyday life in America and his focus on uncelebrated heroes. He portrayed the Black experience in America through his paintings.

In this activity, you’ll create a street scene similar to one of Jacob Lawrence’s works.

Save your art for your portfolio!

explore Jacob Lawrence’s Art

Pretend you’re in an art gallery filled only with Jacob Lawrence’s art. The video above is a slide show of his art.

Look carefully at the stories he is telling. Notice his use of colour, shape, and light.  

  • What do you like in his art work? 
  • What do you find interesting?
  • What would you like to know more about?
  • What would you like to experiment with yourself?

Migration Series Project

Jacob Lawrence’s most famous group of paintings is called the Migration Series. It tells the story of the migration of African Americans from the South to the North.

He painted them when he was just 24 years old.

Years later, Winton Marsalis, a famous Black trumpet player, commissioned a concerto based on the paintings. You can listen to the entire performance of it, at MOMA, below. It’s long… maybe you want to watch it after dinner with your family and treat it like a night of going out to the symphony!

    Lawrence’s Migration Series also inspired poets. There was a whole series of poems written to accompany the paintings. Here is one, read aloud:

    Now that you know more about The Migration Series and the music and poetry that it inspired, pick a project to reflect what you have learned and the feelings you’ve experienced.

    • Write a poem about The Migration Series
    • Write a song or a piece of music (maybe a rap, blending poetry and music?)
    • Create a painting based on The Migration Series
    • Create a painting, poem, or song, based on a pivotal event in your family’s history
    • Write a paragraph about the life of Jacob Lawrence and his work

    Save your creation for your portfolio!

    Books By & About Jacob Lawrence

    Click on a book to buy it from Amazon. Or, you can ask for them at your local library. 

    JaKe Makes A World Read Aloud

    NOw Let’s Have some fun!