Step Afrika! brings a sprawling canvas of African-American history to life

In 1941, Jacob Lawrence created a landmark series of 60 paintings chronicling one of the most epic movements in American history, the Great Migration. The colorful paintings vividly evoke stories of the thousands of African-Americans between 1910-30 who left the rural South for northern industrial cities, looking for a better life. With the multimedia “The Migration: Reflections on Jacob Lawrence,” presented by ArtsEmerson at the Cutler Majestic Theatre through Sunday, the 18 performers of Step Afrika! bring the history in Lawrence’s paintings to vibrant animation through South African gumboot, Western African dance, vocals, drumming, and dazzling raw energy that floods over the footlights into the audience.

Based in Washington, D.C., the award-winning…

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