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Migration panel 6. The trains were packed continually with migrants.

Migration panel 6. The trains were packed continually with migrants. by Jacob Lawrence


  • 1940-41
  • Tempera On Gesso On Composition Board
  • 18 x 12 in
  • Museum of Modern Art, NY
  • Gift of Mrs. David M. Levy.
  • © 2016 The Jacob and Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence Foundation, Seattle / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York


$16.00 - $449.00

SKU: #65216

Rows of African American people are shown in what represents a train, coach, or bus. These individuals are enduring the long, arduous journey that the Great Migration entailed. Lawrence creates a staccato-like rhythm over and over again through the figures as they alternate from row to row, building on the geometry of them. There is an overall sense of humanity and normality portrayed through these figures. Several are sleeping, while others are shown with eyes wide open, perhaps eager or anxious towards the journey ahead of them. A mother is shown hunched over, breastfeeding her infant. An suitcase is placed in the middle of the aisle, opened up presumably for its owner to select an item or go through its contents. These are all regular tasks that are tended to while traveling for an extended period of time. While creating a sense of normalcy, Lawrence additionally creates an overall mysterious tone - where are these people going? What will the next step in their journey be? Overall, through the manipulation of color, shape, value, and texture within these figures, Lawrence creates a sense of continuity: a factor he maintains throughout The Migration Series.