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Old America seems to be breaking up and moving Westward... —An English immigrant, 1817

Jacob Lawrence American

Not on view

Lawrence’s final panel from the Struggle series derives from a utopian pamphlet written and published by Morris Birkbeck, an English-born Quaker and abolitionist, for his British compatriots. Birkbeck used his travel accounts from the coast of Virginia to the territory of Illinois to advertise the promise of a fresh start, even a new society, in the American West. Lawrence filled the picture plane with the unrelenting forward movement of covered wagons, hauled by oxen over uneven terrain. A conspicuous splash of blood represents those who sacrificed and died for a new life of freedom, one that precipitated the mass displacement and subjugation of Indigenous people.

Because the condition of this panel precludes it from extensive travel, the painting must be represented by this reproduction.

Old America seems to be breaking up and moving Westward... —An English immigrant, 1817, Jacob Lawrence (American, Atlantic City, New Jersey 1917–2000 Seattle, Washington), Reproduction of egg tempera original

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