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Jacob Lawrence

The Library
1960
tempera
24 x 29 7/8 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of S. C. Johnson & Son, Inc.

Jacob Lawrence’s view of a library filled with readers recalls his childhood experiences when he frequently visited the 135th Street Public Library in Harlem. This institution was the site of lectures on African and African American history and was home to the largest accumulation of black studies materials in the world—a treasury of resources that contributed to a new black consciousness, helping to inspire the Civil Rights movement.