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First Issue of The Crisis: A Record of the Darker Races, November 1910. New York: NAACP, 1910
|Editor||W.E.B. Du Bois|
|Staff writers||Oswald Garrison Villard, J. Max Barber, Charles Edward Russell, Kelly Miller, W.S. Braithwaite, M. D. Maclean|
|First issue||November 1910|
|Company||The Crisis Publishing Company|
|Based in||New York, NY|
The Crisis is the official magazine of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and was founded in 1910 by W. E. B. Du Bois (editor), Oswald Garrison Villard, J. Max Barber, Charles Edward Russell, Kelly Miller, W.S. Braithwaite, M. D. Maclean.
The original title of the journal was The Crisis: A Record of The Darker Races. From 1997 to 2003, it appeared as The New Crisis: The Magazine of Opportunities and Ideas, but the title has since reverted to The Crisis. The title derives from the poem "The Present Crisis" by James Russell Lowell. Published monthly, by 1920 its circulation had reached 100,000 copies. Du Bois proclaimed his intentions in his first editorial:
The object of this publication is to set forth those facts and arguments which show the danger of race prejudice, particularly as manifested today toward colored people. It takes its name from the fact that the editors believe that this is a critical time in the history of the advancement of men. …Finally, its editorial page will stand for the rights of men, irrespective of color or race, for the highest ideals of American democracy, and for reasonable but earnest and persistent attempts to gain these rights and realize these ideals.
Predominantly a current-affairs journal, The Crisis also included poems, reviews, and essays on culture and history. Du Bois' initial position as editor was in line with the NAACP's liberal programme of social reform and racial equality, but by the 1930s Du Bois was advocating a form of black separatism. This led to disputes between Du Bois and the NAACP resulting in his resignation as editor in 1934. He was replaced by Roy Wilkins.
Although The Crisis was officially an organ of the NAACP, Du Bois had a large degree of control over the periodical's expressed opinion. Du Bois wrote in Dusk of Dawn that he intended for The Crisis to represent his personal opinions:
I determine to make the opinion of the Crisis a personal opinion; because, as I argued, no organization can express definite and clear cut opinions… the Crisis would state openly the opinion of its editor, so long, of course, as that opinion was in general agreement with that of the organization.
Du Bois contends that the periodical suffered during the Great Depression as the "circulation dropped steadily until by 1933 it was scarcely more than ten thousand paid subscriptions." Du Bois left the magazine for both financial and ideological reasons.
Throughout the Du Bois years The Crisis published the work of many young African American writers associated with the Harlem Renaissance. Its greatest era as a literary journal was between 1919 and 1926, when Jessie Redmon Fauset was literary editor. Fauset encouraged such writers as Arna Bontemps, Langston Hughes, Countee Cullen and Jean Toomer.
Following the departure of Fauset and Du Bois, the influence of The Crisis declined. The magazine was unable to sustain the high literary standards it had achieved under Fauset, but it continued to have a powerful political voice.
- The Crisis.
- History, NAACP Unknown parameter
- The Crisis, Footnote, January 1918.
- The Crisis, Books, Google Unknown parameter
- The Crisis at The Modernist Journals Project: cover-to-cover, searchable digital edition of the magazine's first 12 years (Vol. 1, No. 1 - Vol. 25, No. 2: Nov. 1910 – Dec. 1922)