We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.

After seeing painter Jacob Lawrence’s The Migration of the Negro series in 1993, D.C. lawyer Jane Lang couldn’t get the arresting, vibrant images out of her head. The 60 panels—half of which reside permanently at the Phillips Collection—were painted from 1941 to 1942 and depict the mass exodus of African-Americans from the rural South to the urban North. Years later, Lang has brought Lawrence’s paintings to life by commissioning local playwright Karen L.B. Evans to write Leaving the Summer Land, a musical play that follows one family through its 1917 journey away from rural Mississippi’s crop failures, floods, and lynchings to find security and opportunity in Chicago. Evans, whose father was born the same year as Lawrence (1917), says the play reflects not only the story of her family, but the experiences of today’s refugees and immigrants: “The story of migration is universal.” Get a 15-minute sneak preview of Leaving at 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. at the Phillips Collection’s Music Room, 1600 21st St. NW. Free. (202) 387-2151. (AF)