Migration panel 50. Race riots were very numerous all over the North because of the antagonism that was caused between the Negro and white workers. Many of these riots occurred because the Negro was used as a strike breaker in many of the Northern industries.

In the forefront of the painting, a furious, red-haired man raised a baton above his head to strike. Behind him is another man, wielding a wooden club. He too, is ready to strike. In the far distance, there is a third figure: a man waving a knife in the air. Racial violence rapidly became prominent in American cities post World War I, erupting over issues varying from labor conflicts to sexual assault. Often white attackers felt that it was their place to remind migrants of their place in society. Lawrence conveys this racial hierarchy through the transition of the figures throughout the painting, alluding to a very violent, threatening tone. It is through this tone that the viewer is able to feel the tension that those under persecution felt when encountering these antagonizing figures, eliciting a reaction from audiences.
SKU: 65198
Creator: Jacob Lawrence
Date: 1940-41
Original Medium: Tempera on gesso on composition board
Original Size: 18 x 12 in
Location: Museum of Modern Art, NY
© 2016 The Jacob and Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence Foundation, Seattle / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Paper SizePortrait / LandscapeUnframedFramed
Petite8x10 / 10x8$16$99
Small11x14 / 14x11$24$159
Medium16x20 / 20x16$45$219
Large22x28 / 28x22$79$369
Extra Large32x40 / 40x32$139$449