Lab: Distant-Reading The Crisis

In The Crisis we searched “war” and “race.”

The word “war” peaked in 1918 which is in the 5th issue of 16th volume of The Crisis. During this time the U.S. was getting involved in World War I and African Americans felt it was their duty to also get involved even though they were not being given “their full duty to them.” Some content that speaks to the graph is the fact that The Crisis is speaking of black Americans in the war, specifically how “the first duties of all Americans is to win the war.” This issue explains their duty and responsibility, and showing their loyalty to The United States.

The word “race” peaked in 1910 which is in the second issue of the first volume of The Crisis. This volume is about race problems, with one of the sections titled “The Burden” about women. Some content that speaks to the graph is the fact that The Crisis talks a lot about politics and the justice system.

Information is gained and lost in the process of reducing The Crisis to graphical primitives. We lose the context of the words “war” and “race,” which is important in their full meaning. But we gain knowledge by being able to compare the two words side by side.

By: Kate Leahy, Drew Port, Austin Cotner, Adams Davenport


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