Whitney Meet Jacob Lawrence Jacob Lawrence's Art Learning Resources Tell Your Own Story Student Art and Stories
Home Help
What is a WEBQUEST?
Index of Webquests
Instructions for Educators
Lesson Plans
Webquest About Grades 6-12

Introduction  Task  Process  Resources  Evaluation  Reflection


Although the majority of southern blacks migrated North with optimism, many were disappointed to find that it had its own brand of discrimination. The constant influx of black migrants into northern cities brought about unprecedented levels of hostility on the part of northern whites. Exclusionary housing, living, and working policies abounded.

The ability or power to see or make fine distinctions; discernment. Treatment or consideration based on class or category rather than individual merit; partiality or prejudice.

Any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, color, descent, national or ethnic origin.

Back to the Beginning


In this webquest you will:
  • Examine how Jacob Lawrence has shown discrimination in his Migration Series.

  • Use the Internet to research Jim Crow laws, the Civil Rights Movement, and contemporary issues of discrimination.

  • Write a collaborative report about your findings.
Back to the Beginning

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.
© Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence, courtesy of the Jacob and Gwendolyn Lawrence Foundation
  1. Look at  Jacob Lawrence's painting, panel #49 from The Migration Series. Move your mouse over the painting and find questions to discuss with your classmates.

  2. Read the information about  Jacob Lawrence's painting, panel #49 from The Migration Series.

  3. Go to http://www.jacoblawrence.org/art04.html, scroll down to the "series" box and select The Migration Series from the pull down menu. Click on SUBMIT. Look for other examples of discrimination in The Migration Series.

  4. Divide into small groups of 4-6 people. Research and discuss the Jim Crow laws in the web resources below. Take notes.

    What were Jim Crow laws?
    How did they discriminate against blacks?
    What was the effect of Jim Crow laws on race relations in the United States?
    Do Jim Crow laws still exist in practice today? Where? In what ways?

  5. In your groups, research and discuss the Civil Rights Movement web resources below to explore some of the ways in which Jim Crow laws and discrimination were challenged during the 1960s.

    Which Jim Crow laws did the Civil Rights Movement address specifically?
    How did civil rights activists challenge these laws?
    What impact did civil rights activists have on discrimination in the United States?
    What progress has been made?
    What issues of discrimination exist in contemporary America?

  6. Research the Discrimination web resources below. As a group, take notes about issues of discrimination today. Use your knowledge of Jim Crow laws, the Civil Rights Movement, and contemporary discrimination to write a short report.

  7. Present your findings to the class. Consider the following questions for discussion:

    What has changed? How did it change?
    What has stayed the same? Why?
    What new issues of discrimination have arisen since the Civil Rights Movement?
    How do these issues need to be addressed?

  8. In your groups or on your own, read the America web resources below.

    What views of America have these writers presented?
    How has the United States changed since Langston Hughes and Claude McKay wrote their poems?
    What hasn't changed? Why?

  9. Many contemporary musicians and songwriters make music about their communities and lives in the United States. Find some of this music and listen to it in class. Discuss these artists' views of America. How are they similar or different from the writers’ perceptions?

  10. What is your view of America today?Write a prose piece, poem, or lyrics about your America.

  11. Present and discuss your writing with the class.

    What is your collective view of America today?
    Compare your collective view with the writers’ and musicians’ views.
    How are they similar? How are they different?

  12. Make a collaborative book or computer presentation of your writings. Include photographs, drawings, and song lyrics that symbolize or express your views of America. If you are making a computer presentation, include sound and video. You could also expand your anthology by including prose, poetry, lyrics, and images by writers, musicians and artists.
Back to the Beginning



















Black experience in America.

Equal rights issues.

Employment discrimination.

Contemporary discrimination policies.

Interview about contemporary race relations with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

Affirmative action and diversity project.


Langston Hughes, "I Too, Sing America."

Langston Hughes, "Let America Be America Again."

Claude McKay, "America."

Ishmael Reed, "America: The Multi-national Society."

Back to the Beginning


You will receive two evaluations: a group evaluation and an individual evaluation. Your teacher may also choose to create rubrics for evaluation.
  • Group Evaluation: Written Report: Does your report show evidence of inquiry into Jim Crow laws, the Civil Rights Movement and contemporary issues of discrimination? Does it contain opinions and facts about how activists challenge (or could challenge) laws? Do you have an effective assessment of the impact that the activists had on discrimination in the United States?

  • Does your report demonstrate a historical understanding about the progress made, as well as address issues of discrimination that still exist today and possible solutions for resolving them?

  • During the process of group report writing, did your group show evidence of peer editing, teamwork and collaboration, as well as time management and consensus building?

  • Individual Evaluation: Your individual evaluation will be based on two components--your contributions to the group, and your creative piece about discrimination.

  • Group Participation: What unique contributions did you make to the group? Did you show signs of leadership, teamwork and collegiality?

  • Creative Piece: Does your poetry, rap or other dramatic dialogue represent creativity, originality, and personal style? Does it evoke emotion and convey a powerful message? Does it include personal attitudes and opinions about what can be done to end discrimination?

  •  Learning Standards Addressed
Back to the Beginning


Discuss these questions with your classmates.

Based on your findings about discrimination from Jim Crow to the present, what issues of discrimination do you expect to be the most important during the next ten years?

What can be done to change society’s attitudes and perspectives on discrimination?

Do you think there will be an end to discrimination in American society? Why or why not?

Back to the Beginning

©2001 Whitney Museum of American Art