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Art for EqualityThe NAACPs Cultural Campaign for Civil Rights$
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Jenny Woodley

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780813145167

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813145167.001.0001

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Du Bois's Crisis and the Black Image on the Page

Du Bois's Crisis and the Black Image on the Page

(p.63) 3 Du Bois's Crisis and the Black Image on the Page
Art for Equality

Jenny Woodley

University Press of Kentucky

Between 1910 and 1934 W. E. B. Du Bois was editor of the NAACP's official magazine, the Crisis. This chapter examines the artwork, poetry, short stories, and plays he published and the ways he encouraged and celebrated African Americans’ artistic achievements. Du Bois used the arts to help forge a collective black identity and to inspire racial pride. He also challenged racial prejudice by offering alternative images—both visual and in writing—to racial stereotypes. This raises interesting questions about the nature of those images: How did expectations of gender, color, and class play out on the page? This chapter finds that black identity in the magazine was built around a predominantly but (interestingly) not exclusively middle-class idea of African American life, its model of black respectability often female.

Keywords:   Crisis, W. E. B. Du Bois, Racial stereotypes, Black identity, Black respectability

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