Reviews

School Library Journal
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Gr 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.-Lyn Miller-Lachmann, Siena College Library, Loudonville, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Sixty narrative paintings recount the African American migration from the rural South to industrial cities in the North between 1916 and 1919. Also of value in art classes.


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Gr. 4 and up. This stirring picture book (published in conjunction with the Museum of Modern Art and the Phillips Collection) brings together the 60 panels of Lawrence's epic narrative Migration series, which he created in the years 1940-41. They tell of the journey of African Americans who left their homes in the South around the time of World War I and traveled in search of work and better lives in the northern industrial cities. Lawrence is a storyteller with words as well as pictures: his captions and his own 1992 introduction to this book are the best commentary on his work. "To me, migration means movement," he says, and the rhythmic pictures show people--alone and together--leaving, walking, waiting, working, traveling the route to possibility. The sequence isn't linear; as in family stories, the pictures keep circling back to what they left behind. The story is both personal and elemental: Lawrence heard about the migration from his own family, and the paintings have an immediacy that pulls you right into the frames, so that you feel you're there with the child in line at the railway station or with the woman in a tenement reading a letter from home. The repeated motifs in simple shapes and bright primary colors express the common history of ordinary people; the refrain "and the migrants kept coming" still applies today. A poem at the end by Walter Dean Myers also reveals the universal in the particulars of the "small rope-tied case" and the "food that will not last the long journey." Older readers may want to go from this book to the large-size reproductions and the essays in the adult art book Jacob Lawrence: The Migration Series [BKL S 1 93]. Many will want to see the exhibition of these paintings that is currently touring the country. ~--Hazel Rochman


Publishers Weekly
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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.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved