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The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow A Century of Segregation
Jim Crow Stories
A National Struggle
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Jim Crow Stories

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The Crisis Magazine Established (1910)
The Crisis magazine

For the first twenty years of its existence, THE CRISIS, the official publication of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), was almost synonymous with W.E.B. Du Bois. According to Mary White Ovington, a founder of the NAACP, the name of the magazine was the result of a conversation she had had with another founder, William English Walling. "We were," she wrote, "having an informal talk regarding
Starting with a circulation of 1,000 the first year of publication, eight years later THE CRISIS had over 100,000 readers. The Crisis offices
the new magazine. We touched the subject of poetry. There is a poem of Lowell's,' I said, 'that means more to me today than any other poem in the world -- The Present Crisis.' Mr. Walling looked up. 'The Crisis,' he said. 'There's the name for your magazine, THE CRISIS.'"

Du Bois resigned his professorship at Atlanta University to become editor of the magazine. He was 42 years old, and was already an internationally known scholar, teacher, historian, and spokesman for the cause of African Americans.

Du Bois made THE CRISIS into a militant voice in the crusade for black civil rights and for the rights of all people of color. The publication was a success. Starting with a circulation of 1,000 in its first year of publication, by 1918 THE CRISIS had more than 100,000 readers.

In eloquent prose, Du Bois launched rhetorical assaults against those who abused or denied the rights of blacks. The magazine attacked lynching and all forms of discrimination. When President Woodrow Wilson officially segregated the federal government in 1913, Du Bois sharply criticized him for doing so. In 1915, THE CRISIS called for a ban on the film THE BIRTH OF A NATION, which distorted Reconstruction by glorifying the Ku Klux Klan and denigrating blacks. The magazine became the voice of militant black
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magazine tackled with Du Bois at its helm.

America and Du Bois was the idol and hero of youth on college campuses. At the same time, THE CRISIS promoted the arts and the Harlem Renaissance. During the 1920s, it published articles, stories, and poems by black and white writers including Claude McKay, Langston Hughes, James Weldon Johnson, and H.L. Mencken. Du Bois featured the paintings and drawings of artists like William Edward Scott, John Henry Adams, and Laura Wheeler, among other artists. Du Bois resigned from the NAACP in 1934 after a conflict with Walter White. The magazine continues to be published today.

-- Richard Wormser

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Did you Know ...


The first issue of THE CRISIS appeared on November 1910 with a print run of 1,000 copies.
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W.E.B. Du Bois
NAACP
Harlem Renaissance
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