After John Brown's Capture, He was put on trial for his life in Charles Town, Virginia (now West Virginia)
by Jacob Lawrence
(Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, used with permission)
In 1941, the young black artist Jacob Lawrence painted his Legend of John Brown. Lawrence stated that "the
inspiration to paint the John Brown series was motivated by historical events as told to us by the adults of our community . . .
the black community . . . To us, the men and women of these stories were strong, daring and heroic; and therefore we could
and did relate to these heroes by means of poetry, song, and paint." The oral tradition could also be expanded upon by
each teller; this allowed Lawrence the leeway that he shows in many of his twenty-two images.