The Anacostia Community Museum will be closed from January 8, 2024-March 22, 2024. We will reopen on Saturday, March 23, 2024 with our next exhibition, A Bold and Beautiful Vision: A Century of Black Arts Education in Washington, DC,1900-2000. We hope you will join us! 


Object Details

Jacob Lawrence
1941- 1960
tempera on hardboard
Frame: 21 1/4 × 15 3/8 × 1 in. (53.9 × 39.1 × 2.6 cm)
A trio of African American youth carry farm tools along a brown path in this painting by Jacob Lawrence (1917-2000). For the moment, the figures walk freely by a leaf-filled stream, though deep green vegetation ahead portends hard work. Dressed in a vibrant yellow hat and blue shorts, one barefoot worker holds a rake and a black bucket with a blue interior. Another grasps a bucket in the same hue as the hat and wears a shift with an abstract red and orange design. The third person, also barefoot, balances a long-handled hoe over a shoulder, attired in a white shirt and blue pants. The tempera painting on hardboard reflects themes found in Lawrence’s artworks, including the contrast between experiencing peaceful moments, such as being in the woods on a summer day, with manifestations of systemic racism, such as child labor, excruciating physical toil, and rural poverty. As a youth, Lawrence learned from painter Charles Alston, first at the Utopia Children’s Center, a settlement house in Harlem, and then at the Harlem Community Arts Center, where he also studied with sculptor Augusta Savage. These mentors cultivated Lawrence’s artistic abilities and encouraged his embrace of African American subject matter, out of which grew his series of paintings, including Harlem and the iconic Migration series.
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