135th street library

The Library (1960). Jacob Lawrence (1917-2000). Tempera on fiberboard. Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC.

This colorful view of a crowded reading room may show the 135th Street Library where the country’s first significant collection of African American literature, history, and prints opened in 1925. Everybody appears absorbed in their books, and the standing figure in the front looking at African art may represent the artist as a young man.