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People of Cover

Filed under: The Squib Report   Tagged: , , , ,

Martin Schneider writes:

I wanted to address reader Bruce’s comment to the last “Squib Report” post. Here’s what he wrote:

What is so interesting about the current cover is that this is the second time in the magazine’s history that they have shown people of colour in the drawing. Otherwise it is not a great cover.

When I first read this, I immediately thought of Tina Brown’s second-ever cover, which celebrated Malcolm X (and was timed to coincide with Spike Lee’s movie), and Art Spiegelman’s “controversial” 1993 Valentine’s Day cover.

A few minutes with The Complete New Yorker produced this list:

January 19, 1929
January 10, 1931
November 21, 1936
March 9, 1940
February 7, 1942
January 9, 1971
December 28, 1992
September 13, 1993
October 17, 1994
January 16, 1995
January 30, 1995 (sort of)
December 4, 1995
March 11, 1996
April 28, 1997
July 26, 1999
January 17, 2000
February 14, 2000
April 2, 2001
October 27, 2003
June 28, 2004
September 12, 2005

I am sure there are many other examples—and this list only counts Africans or African-Americans. If we broadened it to include Asians, Inuits, Native Americans, and so on, the list would be considerably longer.

I’m sure we can all take issue with The New Yorker’s blind spots or paternalism over the years—it’s been a tumultuous eight decades!—and The New Yorker has certainly never been easily confused with Ebony. Still, Bruce—you’re going to have to make your case in some other way!

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