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Voting, Activism, and Art

This screenprint shows a group of brown-skinned figures gathered in a large room with a wooden floor and blue walls. The figures have few facial features. The figures’ clothes are either black, red, yellow, blue, or beige or a combination of those colors. In the foreground, men and women wait in line. In the center of the composition, a woman sitting at a large yellow table rests her hands on a large white open book; a man wearing a black suit points to one of the pages. In the background, a man in a blue suit stands in a voting booth and is pulling the lever.
Jacob Lawrence, American, The 1920s . . . The Migrants Cast Their Ballots, 1974. Screenprint. Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Gift of Lorillard, Division of Loews Theatres, Inc., Transfer from Student Print Rental Program, M26664. © 2020 The Jacob and Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence Foundation, Seattle/Artists Rights Society (ARS), N.Y.

Special Event

This event was recorded. Please view the talk here.

The 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage and the upcoming presidential election have brought voting rights to the forefront of American politics in 2020 and have prompted important questions about legacies of disenfranchisement, especially for people of color in the United States.

Inspired by the Long 19th Amendment Project, spearheaded by the Schlesinger Library at Harvard’s Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, this program will examine works from the collections at the Harvard Art Museums and Houghton Library that offer a lens on voting rights in the United States in the 20th century. Through close looking at individual artworks in various media, speakers will discuss the Voting Rights Act of 1965, barriers to enfranchisement for people of color, and the role of art in advancing equality.

Leslie Morris, Gore Vidal Curator of Modern Books and Manuscripts, Houghton Library

Katherine Mintie, John R. and Barbara Robinson Family Curatorial Fellow in Photography, Harvard Art Museums

Makeda Best, Richard L. Menschel Curator of Photography, Harvard Art Museums

Mary Schneider Enriquez, Houghton Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Harvard Art Museums

Presented in collaboration with the Women and Public Policy Program at the Harvard Kennedy School, Houghton Library, and the Harvard Votes Challenge.

This virtual program will take place online via Zoom. Free admission, but registration is required. To register, please complete this online form.

You will receive an email confirming your registration along with a Zoom link and password for the program. If you have any questions, please contact

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