History And Context

Excerpts taken from Elizabeth Hutton Turner’s interview with Jacob Lawrence, October 1993, transcript in The Phillips Collection Archives:

Jacob Lawrence: I like the very strong vertical movement in the center of the work, in contrast to the very strong horizontal movement, and I think it gives it a tension. It gives it a pull and I feel that for me, at that time, it was a very successful work. The symbolism of course represents a degree of basic need of food. It’s what we call in certain cultures, our culture, fat back. It’s strickalean, strickafat and people so many people throughout our country live on this very substandard. Notice I say here of our country because I don’t think this is particularly southern. We have poor people throughout the country. So it’s not just a southern phenomenon. It’s a national phenomenon and of course with the migrants, I guess it’s most prevalent throughout the South because that is where most of the migrants came from.