Albert Alex Smith, Untitled (young man), cover, The Crisis, August, 1925.
The all important opportunity for education was a recurring theme for the magazine in these years. The young black man isn't dressed like a farmer, but is surrounded by the implements of agriculture --he needs education to change his future. He turns toward a small town in the distance, and looks to the sky where he sees the portraits of six black leaders: abolitionist Frederick Douglass, writer Alexander Dumas, poet Paul Laurence Dunbar, composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, philosopher-leader W.E.B. Du Bois, and artist Henry O. Tanner.
The drawing speaks to the debate between DuBois and another prominent African American educator -- Booker T. Washington -- who is noticeably absent from this image. Washington advocated an "industrial" or practical education, whereas DuBois championed a "classical" education -- the illustration presents the dilemma between the two, something that persisted for decades.