cover image The Great Migration: An American Story

The Great Migration: An American Story

Jacob Lawrence. Museum of Modern Art, $23.5 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-06-023037-1

Lawrence's (Harriet and the Promised Land ) starkly poetic art once again works admirably on many levels. A series of paintings tells of the northward flow of African Americans in the years after WW I. Somber pieces, illuminated here and there with splashes of primary colors, depict people in motion. Lawrence captures raw emotions like hope, fear and anger, and he shows how momentous decisions made in individual households turned into an important part of U.S. history. A sense of awe issues from the combination of personal and universal human dramas, while the simple, eloquent text remains down to earth. Especially successful is the book's gallery presentation of the 60 paintings in Lawrence's ``The Migration of the Negro,'' shown often four to five on a spread. In his splendid introduction Lawrence discusses the creation of the series, his inspiration and the way he worked on it. This moving, inspiring, educational book is topped off with a poetic anthem by Walter Dean Myers. All ages. (Oct.)