This Day in Black History: Sept. 7, 1917

Jacob Lawrence, the noted African-American painter, was born.

Posted: 09/07/2012 09:45 AM EDT
Jacob Lawrence, the noted African-American painter, was born in New Jersey on Sept. 7, 1917.

He was one of the most influential African-American painters of his generation, with a style he described as “dynamic cubism.” Indeed, Jacob Lawrence is one of the best-known painters of the 20th Century, along with such notables as Romare Bearden. Lawrence was born on Sept. 7, 1917, in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and moved to New York City as a teenager. After dropping out of school at sixteen, Lawrence worked in a laundry and a printing plant. He later took classes at the Harlem Art Workshop, taught by African American artist Charles Alston. Throughout his lengthy artistic career, Lawrence concentrated on depicting the history and struggles of African Americans. Lawrence's work often portrayed important periods in African American history. In 1941, Lawrence married painter Gwendolyn Knight. They remained married until his death in Seattle in 2000.

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(Photo: George Rose/Getty Images)

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