February 12, 2010
Vol. 1, No. 1 of The Crisis. (Newseum collection)

Vol. 1, No. 1 of The Crisis. (Newseum collection)

100 Years Ago in News History: The Crisis Magazine

One hundred years ago in Nov. 1910, sociologist W.E.B. DuBois founded The Crisis magazine as the official publication of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. The monthly magazine was 10 cents a copy, and its first edition consisted of 16 pages.

The NAACP itself was just a year old, founded intentionally on Feb. 12, 1909 — President Abraham Lincoln's 100th birthday — by a group of black and white activists whose goal was to end racial discrimination against black Americans.

In the publication's first editorial, DuBois laid out its goals:

"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."

DuBois added that the editorial page would "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."

During his nearly 25 years as editor, DuBois upheld the mission of the magazine, tirelessly writing editorials that attacked the Ku Klux Klan and all forms of discrimination, including discrimination in housing, education and the military. A 1910 edition of The Crisis is on display in the News Corporation News History Gallery.

DuBois resigned as editor in 1934 after disputes with the NAACP over the direction and tone of the magazine. Roy Wilkins became the publication's second editor.

One hundred years later, The Crisis remains a powerful voice for racial justice.

Related article: And Justice For All: NAACP at 100

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