Amon Carter print details

There are many churches in Harlem. The people are very religious.

Jacob Armstead Lawrence (1917-2000)

Object Details

  • Date


  • Medium

    Transparent and opaque watercolor and tempera over graphite on paper

  • Dimensions

    15 1/2 x 22 1/2 in.

  • Inscriptions


    u.l. signed and dated : J. Lawrence 43

    l.l. in graphite: CHURCH [partially erased]

  • Credit Line

    Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas

  • Accession Number


  • Copyright

    Public domain

Object Description

Between World War I and World War II, over 1.5 million African Americans moved north from the American South, seeking to escape racial oppression and violence. More than 50,000 settled in Harlem in New York City, where Lawrence portrayed the vibrancy and complexity of his fast-changing neighborhood.

Lawrence’s watercolor depicts one of the many churches that sprung up in Harlem storefronts to accommodate the influx of new worshippers. Through an open doorway, a preacher and his congregation are visible, along with the words “God! God! God!” on the back wall. Inside the church, one churchgoer raises her arms in exaltation, while outside a lone woman passes by carrying a colorful bag of fresh produce. With the assortment of figures in the scene, Lawrence signals the presence of multiple expressions of spiritual life in the community, ranging from ardent religiosity to virtues embedded within workaday activities.

—Text taken from the Carter Handbook (2023)

Additional details

Location: Off view
See more by Jacob Lawrence


Educator Resources
  • What strategies might an artist use to convey a narrative?

    What roles do churches play in communities? How are churches different from other buildings?

    What can a building tell about an area’s geography and culture?

    How might a work of art reflect or relate to important moments in history?

  • All Levels

    Have students imagine they are one of the people in this church. Each student should consider the experience of the space, drawing upon all of their senses. Then students will use simple shapes and forms, like Jacob Lawrence did, to sketch their view as a person sitting inside.

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