Story illustration for "Southern Justice" LOOK Magazine, June 29, 1965. Oil on canvas. 1965.
LOOK's publication of Norman Rockwell's first civil rights subject The Problem We All Live With drew letters of both praise and criticism. Rockwell had reached a turning point in his career and welcomed assignments that explored subjects The Saturday Evening Post would never have considered.
Rockwell painted Murder in Mississippi for an article examining the 1964 murders of civil rights workers Michael Schwerner, James Chaney, and Andrew Goodman. A comprehensive examination of the artist's process in creating this landmark civil rights masterpiece is included in the book collection American Chronicles: The Art of Norman Rockwell.
Rockwell received the go-ahead to proceed with his final painting based on this study, but Look art director Allen Hurlburt, after receiving the final, chose to publish this sketch. Three years later, Rockwell reflected that by the time he had finished the final painting, "all the anger that was in the sketch had gone out of it."