Jacob Lawrence, Confrontation at the Bridge from the series entitled, Not Songs of Loyalty Alone: The Struggle for Personal Freedom, 1975, Silkscreen, 19.5” x 25.85”, Photo by Zeal Harris via Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic License.

Jacob Lawrence Used the Appropriate Language

“When the subject is strong, simplicity is the only way to treat it.”  – Jacob Lawrence

Jacob Lawrence was an American painter best known for his portrayal of essential moments in African American history.  Influenced by Cubism, Lawrence used bright colors and broad, flat shapes throughout his long and prolific career.

This print shows when, in 1965, hundreds of civil rights marchers started on a peace march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama led by the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.  Their goal was to secure voting rights for blacks in America.  Just outside Selma, at the Edmond Pettus Bridge, local law enforcement officials repeatedly turned back the marchers by verbally and physically abusing them; however, after several days the marchers were allowed to continue.  Less than five months later, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that outlawed discriminatory voting practices in the U.S.