The 1920s...The Migrants Cast Their Ballots

Jacob Lawrence

American, 1917 - 2000

The 1920s...The Migrants Cast Their Ballots, 1974

  • Not On View

Serigraph on paper

Dimensions: 32 × 25 in. (81.3 × 63.5 cm)

Gift of Lorillard, 1976.7.9

In 1937, Jacob Lawrence began to create visual stories based on African American history. His themes have included civil rights, racism, labor, and poverty in America. His unique visual style is characterized by flat shapes, sharp angles, slashing diagonals, and tilted perspective. Lawrence uses it to great effect to express his strong feelings about African Americans’ struggle for equality.This silkscreen print was commissioned by Lorillard as part of the Kent Bicentennial Portfolio Spirit of Independence, to celebrate America’s 200th birthday in 1976. Lawrence was one of twelve prominent American artists to participate in the project. He chose to commemorate the advancement of civil rights in the 20th century with this image.In colonial times, land ownership determined the right to vote. After the American Revolution, the United States left decisions about voting rights to the individual states. By the early 1800’s, most states had dropped land ownership as a qualification and extended voting rights to all adult white males. Passage of the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1870 gave black males the right to vote. It wasn’t until the 19th Amendment was ratified on August 18, 1920, that women were given the right to vote.

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