Jacob Lawrence: The American Struggle is the first museum exhibition of the series of paintings Struggle: From the History of the American People (1954–56) by the best known black American artist of the 20th century, Jacob Lawrence (1917–2000). Created during the modern civil rights era, Lawrence’s thirty intimate panels interpret pivotal moments inthe American Revolution and the early decades of the republic between 1775 and 1817 and, as he wrote, “depict the struggles of a people to create a nation and their attempt to build a democracy.” Reunited for the first time in more than sixty years, the Struggle paintings revive Lawrence’s way of reimagining American history as shared history. Utilizing historical fact to underscore universal values, he created a broader narrativeof U.S. history by pairing image and text, quoting a range of voices andrendering figures from prominent Founding Fathers to underrepresented historical actors. The paintings of the series, along with works by contemporary artists Derrick Adams, Bethany Collins, and Hank Willis Thomas, resonate with the effortful pursuit of democracy, justice, truth, and inclusion — struggles ongoing around our nation and the world today. The exhibition, organized by PEM, will tour nationally.
This event first appeared on EssexCountyCreates.org