African American Poetry (1870-1926): A Digital Anthology

Poems Published in "The Crisis" 1910-1926

The Crisis was a monthly magazine published by the NAACP, which began publication in 1910. Throughout its early years (1910-1934), the magazine was edited by W.E.B. Du Bois, who exerted a strong editorial influence over the magazine's contents. The magazine published poetry, fiction, and even drama throughout its run alongside conventional journalistic articles and opinion. By 1919, The Crisis had a large national subscription base, with as many as 100,000 subscribers, greater than The New Republic. The literature published in the magazine -- including poetry, fiction and drama -- was widely read, and critics have noted that the magazine had an important impact on the literary culture of the Harlem Renaissance that emerged in the early 1920s. Between 1919 and 1926, Jessie Redmon Fauset served as Literary Editor for The Crisis. During that period of time, many young writers who would later be mainstays of the Harlem Renaissance began publishing poetry and criticism in the pages of the magazineincluding Langston Hughes, Countee Cullen, Anne Spencer, as well as Fauset herself. In addition to poetry, the newspaper frequently published criticism and reviews of books of poetry by Black poets. The most influential of these might be William Stanley Braithwaite's 1919 essay, "The Negro in American Literature" (a revised version of that essay was later reprinted in Alain Locke's The New Negro: an Interpretation). 

Between 1910 and 1926, the magazine published more than 250 poems by a wide range of authors. Below, you'll find a fairly complete collection of poems by African American authors who published in the magazine. (It's admittedly a large collection, and in the months to come we hope to find ways to organize it to make it more accessible...)

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