Migration panel 52. One of the largest race riots occurred in East St. Louis.

The race riots of 1917 in East St. Louis, Illinois were amongst the most destructive in the subsequent wave of violence that ensued post World War I. The city initially erupted with violence and hate crimes, resulting in dozens being killed, hundreds injured, and sections of the city being burned. Lawrence evokes these events in this panel through the entwinement of the figures shown. An elongated figure dressed in all black lays across the panel centrally, either stunned or dead. Below him, a black man holding a club lays on the ground; his back on the pavement. Above him stands a white man holding a club, his arms arched over and behind his head read to strike the man that has fallen underneath of him. On the right side of the panel a racially contrasting situation is occurring: a black figure stands with a white man’s head locked under his arm in a vice-like grip. Exasperated and most likely choking, the white man’s deep blue eyes are open wide, bags present under his eyes as a sign of exhaustion from fighting. While the black man possesses a clenched fist on his opposite arm, the white figure (despite his position) holds his arm vertically in the air, clenching a large knife in a desperate attempt to defend himself. Both the knife and his fist are the largest in the painting compared to other weapons used, serving as not only a focal point but also suggesting the fight for racial dominance.
SKU: 65199
Creator: Jacob Lawrence
Date: 1940-41
Original Medium: Tempera on gesso on composition board
Original Size: 12 x 18 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$19$109
Small11x14 / 14x11$29$189
Medium16x20 / 20x16$59$279
Large22x28 / 28x22$99$389
Extra Large32x40 / 40x32$159$449