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Jacob Lawrence was an American painter, and the most widely acclaimed African-American artist of the 20th century. He is best known for his Migration Series.
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In 1971, Lawrence accepted a tenured position as a professor at University of Washington in Seattle, where he taught until he retired in 1986. In addition to teaching, he spent much of the rest of his life painting commissions, producing limited-edition prints to help fund nonprofits like the NAACP Legal Defense Fund,
the Children’s Defense Fund and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. He also painted murals for the Harold Washington Center in Chicago, the University of Washington and Howard University, as well as a 72-foot mural for New York City’s Times Square subway station.
Lawrence painted until a few weeks before he died, on June 9, 2000.
Lawrence married Gwendolyn Knight, a sculptor and painter, in 1941. She actively supported his work, providing both assistance and criticism, and helped him compose captions for many of his series.
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