Jacob Lawrence was born in Atlantic City, New Jersey in 1917. He spent his early childhood in Easton and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, but at age 13 moved to Harlem with his mother and siblings. He received his training at community art centers in Harlem, the easel project of the Works Progress Administration, and the American Artists School in New York.
His works are in the permanent collections of the nation’s leading museums. In the Northeast alone these include the Museum of Modem Art; Whitney Museum of American Art; Metropolitan Museum of Art; Brooklyn Museum; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Philadelphia Museum; and Wadsworth Atheneum.
The Whitney Museum of American Art held a retrospective of Lawrence’s work in 1974. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1983. Among the many other awards he has received are the National Medal of Arts (1990) and honorary doctorates from Yale (1986) and Harvard (1995).