Going North: African American Journeys

Jacob Lawrence’s The Migration Series invites students to step inside the narrative of the Great Migration and explore why millions of African Americans made the journey north, changing the demographic landscape of our nation. After looking at this era through the eyes of an artist and a poet, students become historians as they examine firsthand and secondhand historical accounts. The expedition then takes students on a journey through the history and sound of the blues. The classroom explodes with creativity as students create collage self-portraits and compose original blues songs. As they follow the artistic processes that preserved and defined an era, students connect more deeply with the communities they have been learning about. At the end of the expedition, students perform their blues songs at the House of Blues.

Grade Level: 4
Subjects: Social Studies, ELA, Music, Visual Art

Why did millions of African Americans migrate from the rural South to the urban North in the 1900s?
What do blues songs tell us about the experience of African Americans during the Great Migration?
How can music, art, and literature help us understand history and ourselves?
How can I illustrate a mood or idea?

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Performing at the House of Blues

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