You Eat with Your Eyes First -wk 7

Humans are visual. Written content can go far, but written content paired with intentional image selection can go so much further. The Crisis leverages this idea to the same end with different means in their October 1914 issue and June 1918 issues. The thesis, if you will, of the October 1914 issue is: Don’t fight somebody else’s war when there’s war enough at home. To emphasize this point, the issue shows dozens of images of children (such as the cover image). These images are emphasized further with language like, “cry, little children, cry and cry loud and soon, for until you and the Mothers speak, the men of the world bend stupid and crazed beneath the burden of hate and death. Behold, this old and awful world is but one slaughter-pen, one tale of innocent blood and senseless hate and strife” (290). There is a direct call to avoid war and fight on the homefront for racial justice. The June 1918 issue has the same heart to it, with its thesis being: Fight the war at home by proving yourself in the war abroad. Rather than images of children, it features images of strong, upright soldiers (as demonstrated by the cover image). Language such as, “Out of this war will rise… an American Negro, with the right to vote and the right to work and the right to live without insult. These things may not and will not come at once; but they are written in the stars, and the first step toward them is victory for the armies of the Allies” (60). The heart of the argument is the same as the one in 1914: achieve racial equality, but the means by which to achieve that has shifted from abstinence of foreign battle to engagement. It is worth noting that, though the cover images of these two issues have wildly different content (one a sweet, somber little girl making direct eye contact and one a broad-shouldered, iron-backed soldier), they have a similar color scheme. Both of these covers, unlike the covers of other issues of The Crisis are red. When discussing war, it is not a far stretch to associate the color red with the color blood. What this communicates is the idea that bloodshed is inevitable, whether the war is at home or abroad. However, the images tied with the color scheme seems to simultaneously suggest that while there is blood, there is purpose. 


Jamie, I was also thinking a lot about the cover of the "Soldiers Number" issue of The Crisis. The colors in particular stood out to me, because along with red, there is also blue and white. We don't get much more patriotic than that, right? However, I hadn't considered the idea of red being like blood. The longer I stare at the cover, however, the more I agree. The red isn't vibrant or clear in the ways the blue and white are. Rather, the red is darker, and this darkness is one that stands out all the more against the crisp white background. I don't think it's even a short stretch to make this association!