Panel No. 10 of Jacob Lawrence’s The Migration Series depicts a group of impoverished African Americans during the early 20th century Great Migration. Created in 1940-41, this painting is one of the series’ 60 cardboard panel renditions, executed using casein tempera paint on top of rabbit-skin glue and whiting gesso layering.
Lawrence’s style is characterized by his use of simple compositions, styled forms, and bright colors in each ensemble. In this particular painting, he emphasizes the struggles faced by African American migrants who found themselves at the bottom rung of social-economic development during this time period.
The Great Migration involved over a million African Americans migrating from rural southern areas to industrial northern ones throughout the late-1910s to ’20s. Through each painting in The Migration Series, Lawrence captures different stages and diverse aspects of these unprecedented migratory waves that have come to shape American society today.