Friday, February 19, 2010

Magazine Covers for Black History Month: The Crisis

If you haven’t been following the magazines posted for Black History Month on Robert Newman Design, you should definitely check out the collection of iconic African American covers. Everything from Fortune Covers by Jacob Lawrence and Romare Bearden, to Playboy’s first black cover model. It’s a great series co-produced by Linda Rubes of Fortune.

The Crisis was founded in 1910 as the magazine of the NAACP. Bob Newman posted this cover by Harlem Renaissance artist Aaron Douglas. I’d like to share a few more of their wonderful, early illustrated covers.

The Crisis is the official magazine of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and was founded by W. E. B. Du Bois in 1910. The original title of the journal was The Crisis: A Record Of The Darker Races …The title derives from the poem "The Present Crisis" by James Russell Lowell.

Predominantly a current-affairs journal, The Crisis also included poems, reviews, and essays on culture and history. Throughout the Du Bois years The Crisis published the work of many young African American writers associated with the Harlem Renaissance. (From Wikipedia)

I would like to say that the above three covers are by Aaron Douglas, but I have only been able to verify that the bottom two are by him.

In October, 1911, Du Bois wrote that "every argument for Negro suffrage is an argument for women's suffrage." Throughout its history, The Crisis ran a great many issues with women on the cover (check out the online archive here. The March/April 2007 issue, below, features Women’s History Month interviews and a female combatant on the cover.

Images via The Crisis archive and Beinecke Library, Yale


  1. Three of the covers are by Aaron Douglas, one cover is by Laura Waring Wheeler and I want to say another cover might be by Richard Bruce Nugent.


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