Feb 12, 2013

The Crisis: A Record of the Darker Races

The past month I’ve been researching vintage African American magazines for a series of posts on my Facebook and Tumblr pages as part of Black History Month. One recent collection was a set of covers from The Crisis, the official publication of the NAACP, founded in 1910 by W.E.B. DuBois. The Crisis was a remarkable magazine that featured significant writing from many of the important Harlem Renaissance writers, including Langston Hughes, Countee Cullen, and Jean Toomer. It also included powerful graphic covers by artists Aaron Douglas, Frank Walts, and others.

100 years after it started, The Crisis (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.

You can see 100 years of complete scans of The Crisis at Google Books. We’ve collected some of art director Fitzpatrick’s favorites from recent years on the next page.

(Above): The Crisis, Winter 2012. Illustration: Edel Rodriguez