Duke: The First Black Men’s Pinup Magazine (1957)
Duke was the first black men’s pinup magazine, launched in 1957. It was based on the editorial format pioneered by Playboy, and like that magazine was also published in Chicago. It featured fiction, interviews, fashion, racy cartoons, and of course, a pin-up centerfold. Notable writers published in Duke included Chester Himes, Langston Hughes, and George S. Schuyler. Science fiction writer Ray Bradbury had a story in the first issue called “The Last White Man.” Like Playboy and other men’s magazines of the time, Duke featured lots of illustration, and its interior design owed much to early issues of Hugh Hefner’s publication.
The editor of Duke was Dan Burley, a well-known African American journalist and jazz pianist who also worked at the Amsterdam News, Jet, and Ebony. The art director was Leroy Winbush. Sadly, Duke lasted only six issues before folding.
Here are five of the original Duke covers. Visit the Newmanology website to see a bonus “Duchess of the Month” centerfold from the first issue!
Thanks to Darwination Scans and 16 Stone Vintage for the covers.