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.
October 1919. Illustration by Frank Walts.
May 1919. Illustration by Frank Walts.
March 1933. Illustration by Zell Ingram.
September 1927. Illustration by Aaron Douglas.
November 1933. Illustration by J.E. Dodd.