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The Great Migration: Millions Moved
Open March 26 - August 27, 2023


Discover the History of the Great Migration through the Art of Jacob Lawrence and Local Intergenerational Dialogues  The Great Migration happened in two parts when more than 6 million African Americans from the Deep South migrated to the North, Midwest, and West Coast, between 1910-1970.The driving force behind the mass exodus was leaving racial violence and oppression – in pursuit of economic and educational justice. It transformed America’s cultural landscape,impacting cities and towns across the nation, including Detroit and Washtenaw County.

This exhibit explores the First Migration through the eyes of artist Jacob Lawrence who was 23 years old when he completed painting his “Migration Series”(1940-41), the same year the Second Migration began. Visitors will see 25 selected prints from the series, along with additional photos and text panels. Watch the intergenerational dialogues between local high school and college students and community members that give insight into the First and Second Migration as they share their own family’s stories. Click here to watch those interviews.

This exhibit is presented in collaboration with University of Michigan Turner African American Services Council (TAASC), Bethel AME Church, Ann Arbor District Library, Jacob and Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence Foundation, Seattle/Artists Rights Society, New York and the Phillips Collection, Washington DC.

Photo: Segregated waiting room at Jacksonville Florida’s Union Station railroad depot, 1921. The Jacksonville train station, completed in 1919, wasthe largest in the South. Many southern blacks caught transportation North from this station. (Photographer: State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory)

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