Feb 20, 2017

Black History Magazines: The Crisis

The Crisis was founded in 1910 by W.E.B. DuBois as the official publication of the NAACP. Within nine years it reached a circulation of 100,000. It was an important venue in its early days for African American authors, including Jean Toomer, Langston Hughes, Countee Cullen, and Jessie Fauset. It also included powerful graphic covers by artists Aaron Douglas, Frank Walts, and others. And at a time when positive portrayals of African Americans in mainstream publications were scant, The Crisis published elegant photographic cover portraits.

100 years after it started, The Crisis (originally subtitled “A Record of the Darker Races”) is still around and still producing stunning visual covers. Under the direction of art director Wayne Fitzpatrick, the now-quarterly magazine has featured cover illustrations by Edel Rodriguez, Mirko Illic, and more, while continuing the tradition of presenting provocative, pointed, and inspiring political messages.

A complete set of issues from 1910-22 is available at The Modernist Journals Project, where many of these covers came from. You can also see 100 years of complete scans of The Crisis at Google Books. And be sure to visit the current website of The Crisis.

(Above): February 1930. Illustration by R.E. Jackson.

02-screen-shot-2012-01-29-at-8-37-15-amOctober 1919. Illustration by Frank Walts.

03-screen-shot-2012-01-29-at-8-40-17-amMay 1919. Illustration by Frank Walts.

04-130556603278131October 1912.

05-zell-ingramMarch 1933. Illustration by Zell Ingram.

06-all3September 1927. Illustration by Aaron Douglas.

07-screen-shot-2013-02-04-at-6-46-07-pmJune 1930.

08-j-e-doddNovember 1933. Illustration by J.E. Dodd.

09-crisisMay 1929.

10-screen-shot-2013-02-04-at-6-49-11-pmMay 1940.


More Black History Magazines

> Jet, 1950s
> Jet, 1960s
> The Black Panther newspaper
> Ebony Jr!
> Magazine and book covers illustrated by Aaron Douglas