Bearden and Lawrence are both artists you likely know--and if you do not you should.
Bearden was born in North Carolina and became known as an artist in NYC. He received an MFA from NYU and also studied at the Sorbonne (following serving in the army in World War II). His work is generally related to the African-American experience--even his more abstract and collage pieces. Bearden worked in a multitude of media dn his style likewise changed over the years. You can find out everything you want to know about Bearden at the Romare Bearden Foundation.
Lawrence, likewise multifaceted, chronicled the African-American experience in America. Perhaps his most famous work is his multi-panel Migration Series, depicting the migration of African-Americans out of the South. It is both a magnificent piece of art and historical document. Like Bearden his work is held in the permanent collections of every museum that matters. He was the first African-American included in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art (NY) in 1941.
Lawrence was also a professor, teaching for over 15 years at the University of Washington. When you read about him you will hear about the influence of French painters on his work. He, however, said his work was inspired by the life and the color in Harlem. Find out more at the gallery link above or HERE.