When W. E. B. Du Bois founded The Crisis in 1910, as the house magazine of the fledgling NAACP, he created what is arguably the most widely read and influential periodical about race and social injustice in U.S. history. Written for educated African-American readers, the magazine reached a truly national audience within nine years, when its circulation peaked at about 100,000. The Crisis’s stated mission, like that of the NAACP itself, was to pursue “the world-old dream of human brotherhood” by bearing witness to “the danger of race prejudice” and reporting on “the great problem of inter-racial relations,” both at home and abroad. The magazine thus provided a much-needed corrective to the racial stereotypes and silences of the mainstream press—publishing, each month, uplifting accounts of achievements by African Americans, alongside stark accounts of racial discrimination and gruesome reports of lynchings. In the twelve years covered by the MJP edition (from 1910 to 1922), The Crisis also addressed most every facet of life for black people in America, devoting special issues to such topics as women’s suffrage, education, children, labor, homes, vacations, and the war. From the start, the magazine actively promoted the arts as well, and is deservedly recognized as an important crucible for the Harlem Renaissance. Among the notable authors who published in The Crisis during the MJP years is Jessie Fauset—who began contributing in 1912 and became the magazine’s literary editor in 1919—as well as William Stanley Braithwaite, Charles Chesnutt, Countee Cullen, Alice Dunbar-Nelson, Angelina W. Grimke, Langston Hughes, Georgia Douglas Johnson, James Weldon Johnson, Alain Locke, Arthur Schomburg, Jean Toomer, and Walter White.
The Modernist Journals Project would like to thank Indiana University Library, which provided us with the hard copies of most of the issues of The Crisis (vols. 1-23) that are digitally reproduced here. We would also like to thank the University of Illinois for scanning for us their original hard copies of Crisis vols. 24 & 25, as well as a handful of other issues that were missing from the Indiana run. Finally, we could not secure original hard copies of the first four volumes of the magazine, so our scans of these issues were made from a reprint of The Crisis published by Negro Universities Press–though we were able to obtain from Harvard University the original color covers (front and back) for all issues in volumes 3 & 4.