“Panel No. 59: In the North, the Negro had freedom to vote.”

Last week, I took my 4-yo daughter to the Phillips Collection to see Jacob Lawrence’s masterpiece, The Migration of the Negro. It turned out to be the last day of the exhibition where the entire 60-panel series was on view. [MoMA owns the even-numbered paintings, the Phillips owns the odd-numbered ones.]
We’ve grown familiar seeing it all together this summer, but in the crowded gallery, as I read the caption on each panel and held the kid up so she could see, I couldn’t help but choke up when I got to the end, the culmination of The Great Migration, where millions of citizens fled the vestiges of the Civil War–poverty, discrimination, injustice, and violence–for an opportunity to work, go to school, raise their families–and to vote.