JACOB LAWRENCE AND THE GREAT MIGRATION (PART 6)

This is the final part of the series I have been running on Jacob Lawrence’s Great Migration paintings. Lawrence was one of the most important American artists of the twentieth century, and the Great Migration, the exodus of six million African Americans from the South to the North that began at the start of the First World War, one of the defining features of American history. I wrote in the first post about the significance both of Lawrence and of […]

JACOB LAWRENCE AND THE GREAT MIGRATION (5)

I have been running a series of posts about Jacob Lawrence and his depiction of the Great Migration. Lawrence was one of America’s most important twentieth century painters, and the Great Migration, the exodus of African Americans from the Southern states to the Northern cities from 1915 onwards, one of the pivotal events of American history.  Lawrence portrayal of that exodus, an epic work of 60 panels, is his most famous work, a work as much of historical memory as […]

JACOB LAWRENCE AND THE GREAT MIGRATION (4)

Continuing my posts republishing the paintings from Jacob Lawrence’s Great Migration series, I have reached panels 31-40. Lawrence was one of America’s most important twentieth century painters, though one who has rarely received great public recognition, and the Great Migration, the exodus of African Americans from the Southern states to the Northern cities from 1915 onwards, one of the pivotal events of American history, though again not often recognized as such. Lawrence’s portrayal of that event, and of its existential impact, […]

JACOB LAWRENCE AND THE GREAT MIGRATION (PART 3)

This year marks the centenary of the beginning of the Great Migration, the exodus of six million African Americans from the US South to the northern cities. The Museum of Modern Art in New York is marking that anniversary by bringing together in an exhibition all 60 panels of Jacob Lawrence’s epic portrayal of the exodus. Lawrence was one of America’s most important twentieth century painters and his Great Migration series is perhaps his most famous work, a work as much […]

JACOB LAWRENCE AND THE GREAT MIGRATION (PART 2)

This year marks the centenary of the beginning of the Great Migration, the exodus of six million African Americans from the US South to the northern cities, such as Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia and New York. The Museum of Modern Art in New York is marking that anniversary with an exhibition that brings together all 60 panels of Jacob Lawrence’s epic portrayal of the exodus. Lawrence was one of America’s most important twentieth century painters and his Great Migration series is perhaps his most […]

JACOB LAWRENCE AND THE GREAT MIGRATION

Beginning in 1915, some six million black African Americans from the South joined an exodus to the northern cities – Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia, New York and many others. This was the Great Migration. It was the result both of the conditions in which African Americans found themselves in the South and the labour needs of Northern employers. After post-Civil War Reconstruction, white supremacy had largely been restored across the South, enforced though the Jim Crow laws. It was a segregated […]

A YEAR OF PANDAEMONIUM

. From Covid to Black Lives Matter, 2020 was a year like few others in recent times. Here’s a rundown of the year through the posts on Pandaemonium. . Covid Covid-19 was, of course, the issue that dominated the year. My first essay on the subject was a reflection on how new diseases seem to expose the existential fragility of human societies and how responses to epidemics are often attempts by the authorities to show that they are in control, […]

PANDAEMONIUM WHILE WRITING A BOOK

. This is just a short note to apologize if posting on Pandaemonium is slightly erratic over the next year. I have started work on a new book which unpacks ideas of “whiteness” – white supremacy, white identity, white privilege. More details in due course. But working on a book may mean that posts are a bit more irregular than normal. My apologies, but I hope you continue enjoying what is posted here – and the book, too, when it […]

PLUCKED FROM THE WEB #75

The latest (somewhat random) collection of essays and stories from around the web that have caught my eye and are worth plucking out to be re-read. . ‘The biggest monster’ is spreading. And it’s not the coronavirus.Apoorva Mandavilli, New York Times, 3 August 2020 Until this year, TB and its deadly allies, H.I.V. and malaria, were on the run. The toll from each disease over the previous decade was at its nadir in 2018, the last year for which data […]

MAKE ME WANNA HOLLER

I have published a similar post before, but this seemed a good time to resurrect it. The story of the struggle for black rights in America is intimately linked to the story of popular music. And this is a collection of 12 songs that span the past century and have acted as the soundtrack to the black struggle in America. It is largely chronological and reflects the shifts both in the struggle and in the music (as well as my […]

FROM THE GREAT MIGRATION TO THE SYRIAN WAR

Jacob Lawrence was one of the great painters of 20th century America. His Great Migration series is an extraordinary work both of art and social history, documenting the migration of African Americans from the South to the Northern cities. I have published the full set of 60 paintings over a series of six posts: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. Helen Zughaib, a Lebanese-born American artist, has taken Lawrence’s series as a template for a new set of paintings on […]

PLUCKED FROM THE WEB #64

The  latest (somewhat random) collection of essays and stories from around the web that have caught my eye and are worth  plucking out to be re-read. The US is now betraying the Kurds for the eighth time Joe Schwartz, The Intercept, 7 October 2019 The U.S. has now betrayed the Kurds a minimum of eight times over the past 100 years. The reasons for this are straightforward. The Kurds are an ethnic group of about 40 million people centered at the intersection of Turkey, […]

THE HISTORY AND POLITICS OF WHITE IDENTITY

This is a transcript of a talk I gave to the Literarisches Colloqium Berlin on 5 March 2019. Identity politics is one of the defining – and one of the most divisive – issues of our age. And no identity is more contested or fought over than white identity. For some it is a means of giving voice to a group whose identity has previously been denied. For others it is simply as an expression of racism. The political context […]

PLUCKED FROM THE WEB #40

The latest (somewhat random) collection of recent essays and stories from around the web that have caught my eye and are worth plucking out to be re-read. . Centrists are the most hostile to democracy, not extremists David Adler, New York Times, 23 May 2018 The warning signs are flashing red: Democracy is under threat. Across Europe and North America, candidates are more authoritarian, party systems are more volatile, and citizens are more hostile to the norms and institutions of […]

WHAT IS EDUCATION FOR?

This essay was the main part of my Observer column this week. (The column included also a shorter piece on barring racists from Britain.) It was published in the Observer, 18 March 2018, under the headline ‘Let’s not give up on the idea that a good education is a search for truth‘. Sam Gyimah is very taken by Moneysupermarket.com. Seven years ago, the newly elected Tory MP for East Surrey wrote an article for Conservative Home, bemoaning the fact that there […]