The process of visualizing The Crisis allowed for a more distant reading of the text, enabling me to follow trends/issues rather than reading piecemeal updates. In an attempt to view the effects of a singular event, I've inserted an image below (as I was foiled in an attempt to embed a view via HTML) of the graphed instances where the phrase "Birth of a Nation" appears in The Crisis. I was interested in following the discussion of the release and reception of the controversial white supremacist film, which was protested by the NAACP. The first ocurrence of the film title in The Crisis is in the context of a May 1915 article titled "An Instance of the Way the NAACP Works."
The graph evidences the surge (and later resurgence) of evaluation and protests of the film. The initial NAACP efforts to censor the film for its racist content were dispelled by the approval of the Board of Censorship. I searched The Crisis for "Board of Censorship," and, surprisingly, the relative frequency graph looked like a singular spike in usage, which implies that the release of "Birth of a Nation" was, at least in The Crisis, the most inflammatory episode of controversy with the Board of Censorship. (The major spike in frequency of "Board of Censorship" comes from the same issue of the first mention of "Birth of a Nation.") This mainly raises more questions for me. What was the relationship between the NAACP and the Board of Censorship? Was Birth of a Nation a singular event, the epicenter of film censorship and racial conflict, or was it just the only one (or the most chronologically significant one) to be covered in depth by The Crisis? (Where is Dr. Jackson when you need him?) The structural evaluation afforded by Voyant is a helpful way to reveal these initial relationships to be explored by later close reading.