Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Great Migration

An excellent book that explains both WW1 and WW2's effect on race in our country. Vibrant illustrations by Jacob Lawrence. I added a soundtrack by Duke Ellington, Misty Morning and Night Train
the amazon review
Grade 3 Up-A noted African-American artist chronicles the 1916-1919 migration of blacks from the South through a sequence of 60 paintings and accompanying narrative captions. The story begins with the call for new workers in the North to replace those men fighting in Europe. There was no justice for African Americans under Southern law, and sharecropping kept them poor. Lawrence depicts their arrival in Chicago and Pittsburgh; their new jobs in factories; the attacks against them by white workers; and their new opportunities, such as voting and going to school. At first, most of the paintings are set in the South, showing only a few people venturing north. Later on, the artwork is more crowded, with the phrase "And the migrants kept coming" repeated over and over again. The cumulative effect is powerful, and could not have been achieved by illustrations or words alone. Although more abstract than realistic, the paintings evoke fear and hope and transmit the courage of those who left behind everything they had known in order to find a better life. Since its completion in 1941, the art has been scattered among several museums, and young readers are fortunate to have it collected here in a single volume. A moving poem by Walter Dean Myers makes a fitting conclusion to this exceptional title.

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