Illustrations in the First Book of Moses, called Genesis
Jacob Lawrence (American, 1917 – 2000)
DimensionsWork : 23 1/2 x 18 x 2 1/2 in. (59.69 x 45.72 x 6.35 cm)
Credit LinePurchased with funds donated by Ronald '62 and Gerri Vander Molen
LabelThis special edition of the Book of Genesis contains eight screen prints by Jacob Lawrence that were inspired by his memories of the services he attended as a teen at Abyssinian Baptist Church in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City. Abyssinian Baptist Church was founded as an offshoot of First Baptist Church in 1809 by a group of free African American parishioners and visiting Ethiopian sailors who objected to First Baptist’s racially segregated seating policy. When Lawrence attended Abyssinian Baptist Church in the 1930s, it was led by minister Adam Clayton Powell, Sr., whose energetic preaching style is evoked by the dynamic shapes and bright colors of these images. Jacob Lawrence grew up in New Jersey and Pennsylvania before moving to Harlem with his mother in 1930. At age 16, he began studying art at the Harlem Art Workshop under the mentorship of Charles Alston, Henry Bannarn and Augusta Savage. He enjoyed a successful career as an artist in New York from the early 1940s to 1970, at which point he took a teaching position at the University of Washington in Seattle, where he lived for the remainder of his life.