Follow the Map

The Green Book
Follow the Map, Oil on Canvas, 42″ x 36″

The Negro Motorist Green Book, or Green Books as they were often referred to as, was used by Black families when the needed to travel through segregated America. The Green Book was created by Victor Green, each book had a state by state list of accommodations that would house everyone. My grandmother says she remembers using Green Books as a young child when her family travels. In my copy some states, like Texas, are not even listed in the index.

I noticed that some of the states not listed just so happened to be the same states that Blacks migrated from during the Great Migration (1917-70). On the map I painted those states a dark navy, the mid range blue states are the more neutral states, and the brightest colored states are were Black families migrated to.

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Black History Month Art Lesson 

For Black History Month, I’ve decided to teach my students about Jacob Lawrence. He is one of my favorite artists and he’s Migration Series touches on a topic that I’ve noticed not a lot of school books talk about. 

For those of you that don’t know, the Great Migration (1916-1970) was the relocation of 6 million African Americans from the rural South to the Urban North. 

Map of migration.

There was a call for industrial workers in the North because of World War I and many wanted to escape the Reconstruction of the Civil War in the South. Unfortunately, many migrants still dealt with violent racism and discrimination in the North.
Jacob Lawrence created a 60 panel series  called The Migration Series (1940-41) that depicted what African Americans went through. For this month’s art project I’m having my students great mixed media paintings using construction paper and acrylic paint. In the style of Jacob Lawrence, they will be recreating pictures from the Civil Rights movement.

My example for the Jacob Lawrence lesson.

I taught to the first group on Friday and they all seemed to enjoy the process. My goal with this lesson is to actually to my students about an important moment in history that some people thing should down played. Not talking about things such as slavery, the civil war, rasicm and all the terrible things that happened does no good for anyone. 

A family migrating North

Do not forget these people. Do not edit or hide this part of history. We need to remember it so we don’t make the same mistakes and so we can learn from the ones we’ve made.