History...pg.3

photoIn 1949, when Wilkins was named acting executive secretary while Walter White was on leave, Ivy was appointed acting editor of The Crisis and later, December, 1950 was made editor. A polylingual scholar, the new editor had a profound interest in the cultural development of colored peoples in foreign lands as well as in the United States. He translated certain pertinent writings by persons of African descent from the French, Spanish and Portuguese for republication in The Crisis.

A reorganization plan adopted by the NAACP Board of Directors placed The Crisis under the supervision of the Association's public relations department as of January, 1965. Mr. Ivy remained as editor until his retirement in April, 1966. Henry Lee Moon succeeded him as editor while continuing his duties as NAACP director of public relations. Although no additional staff has been officially designated by The Crisis, the editor has been ably assisted in the production of the magazine by two associates in the public relations department - Warren Marr, II, and Miss Maybelle Ward. Mrs. Julia Gairy and Mrs. Lillian Lyttle continued their essential services in accounting and circulation, respectively.

Until 1933 The Crisis was published by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. The February, 1933, issue was published under the imprimatur of Crisis Publishing Company, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of the NAACP. the magazine remained the official organ of the Association. Serving as officers of the new company were Dr. Louis T. Wright, president; Walter White, secretary; and Mrs. Lillian A. Alexander, treasurer. Other members of the publishing company board were the Rev. A. Clayton Powell, Sr., James Marshall, J. E. Spingarn and Dr. Du Bois. The company took over the responsibility for publication of the magazine.

In December, 1958, a new board was elected consisting of Arthur B. Spingarn, president; John Hammond, vice president; Samuel A. Williams, secretary; Theodore Spaulding, treasurer; Roy Wilkins, assistant secretary, and Mrs. Daisy Lampkin. The present board, elected January 12, 1970, is headed by Stephen G. Spottswood, president, with Dr. Buell Gallagher, vice president; Samuel A. Williams, secretary; Kivie Kaplan, treasurer; Roy Wilkins, assistant secretary; and Miss Lucile Bluford and Henry Lee Moon, members.

photoThe Crisis has consistently sought to keep its subscription rate within reach of the least affluent persons interested in the civil rights struggle. In the 60 years there have been only two price increases during a period when rates for other magazines have gone up four-fold and more. The original annual subscription of $1.00 was raised in December, 1919, to $1.50. There was not another increase until January, 1970, when the subscription to NAACP members was raised to $2.00 and to other persons to $3.50. The magazine's subscribers have, for many years, come overwhelmingly from NAACP members.

Circulation of The Crisis has fluctuated over the 60-year period dependent largely upon economic and social conditions and the size of the NAACP membership. There was a steady increase in the average annual net circulation per month from the first two issue, November and December, 1910, at 1,750 until 1919 when it reached 94,908 with some issues during the year topping 100,000. The following year, the average dropped to 62,417 and continued to decline to a low of 10,000 in 1932 during the Great Depression. When Dr. Du Bois resigned in 1934 the average monthly circulation of the magazine was 10,500.

In the early years when circulation was zooming, The Crisis was financially self-sufficient. But the Depression cut into circulation and into NAACP membership. The Association had to underwrite the magazine. It was not until 1942 that circulation began to climb significantly from 20,000 that year to 59,950 in 1946. When the minimum annual NAACP membership was increased from $1.00 to $2.00 in 1949, Crisis circulation dropped to 22,000 in 1950. Thereafter it rose steadily to a peak of 122,289 in 1964, the year after NAACP membership reached a high of 534,710. The lowest circulation figure since 1964 was 100,000 in 1967. Last year, 1969, the average circulation per month was 111,302.


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