Whitney Meet Jacob Lawrence Jacob Lawrence's Art Learning Resources Tell Your Own Story Student Art and Stories
Home Help
The Migration Series
His Painting Method

A Webquest Awaits
Grades 3-5 Grades 6-12

Click here to view a larger image
They also found discrimination in the North although it was much different from that which they had known in the South.

The Migration of the Negro
, panel 49, 1940-41. Casein tempera on hardboard, 18 x 12 in. (45.7 x 30.5 cm). The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.
Artwork © Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence, courtesy of the Jacob and Gwendolyn Lawrence Foundation
indicates a link to another site

The majority of southern blacks migrated to the North with optimism; however many were disappointed to find that it had its own brand of discrimination. The constant influx of black migrants into northern cities led to unprecedented levels of hostility on the part of northern whites. Restrictive housing, living, and working policies abounded. The city of San Francisco sent experts to the Midwest to study techniques and strategies of exclusion.1 Black migrants were often segregated into the most delapidated sections of the city, forced to pay high prices for inferior housing, and discriminated against in the workplace. Widespread unrest over these conditions was unleashed during  summer race riots in 1919.

This panel shows a public dining space in the North. Blacks and whites are divided by a yellow barrier that zigzags through the center of the painting. The yellow dividing line is emphasized by the tilted table tops and chairs situated against the background of the restaurant floor. Tables and chairs are placed to reinforce the diners' separation.

Treatment or consideration based on class or category rather than individual merit; partiality or prejudice: racial discrimination. The term "racial discrimination" means any distinction, exclusion, restriction, or preference based on race, color, national or ethnic origin.

1. Carole Marks, Farewell–We're Good and Gone: The Great Black Migration (Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 1989), p. 145.
View Printable Page

What is discrimination?
Why do people discriminate?
Do you discriminate? How?
Have you ever experienced discrimination?
What kind? Age? Gender? Race? Employment?
How were you treated differently?
What was this discrimination based upon?
How did you feel?

• Write one or two paragraphs describing your experience of discrimination. Include details about what happened and how you felt.

©2002 Whitney Museum of American Art