One of three covers of the Sept. issue of Ebony magazine (Ebony magazine) One of three covers of the Sept. issue of Ebony magazine (Courtesy of Ebony magazine)

Arresting magazine covers are meant to do two things: sell copies and spark a conversation or debate. Well, Ebony Magazine is getting plenty of the latter. The September issue of what’s considered the “Time magazine of Black America” will have four different covers in honor of Trayvon Martin. One cover features the parents and brother of the unarmed teen shot and killed by George Zimmerman. The other three cover shots show prominent African American men with their sons in hoodies. They include filmmaker Spike Lee, actor Boris Kodjoe and Miami Heat basketball star Dwayne Wade (right). They are powerful images that set the tone for a magazine issue devoted to the tragedy in Sanford, Fla., last year and the hurt over the Zimmerman acquittal of second-degree murder last month.

As always, Trayvon “brings out the worst in people.” All the folks over at had to do was scribble up a quick item about Miami Heat basketball player Dwayne Wade’s cover with his two sons to get the hate flowing in its comments section. No need for me to repeat the vitriol. A lot of it boils down to Trayvon was a “drug-dealing thug” who deserved to die. Or that blacks won’t address the dysfunction in their own backyard. Given that my own Twitter feed, e-mail and comments were filled with these kinds of comments since I started writing about Zimmerman and Trayvon, I should be used to the callousness by now. That I’m not must be proof that I still possess a bit of humanity.

I first learned about the covers because of Twitter reaction (h/t @ljoywilliams and @ZerlinaMaxwell) to Ebony magazine’s reaction to calls by conservatives for a boycott of the magazine. As if they’d ever heard of the Afro-centric publication before the bold covers went public. “We have so many Tea Party readers and followers,” a tweet from @EbonyMag read. “To lose all zero of them due to our September cover would be devastating.” A terrific response to persistent idiocy.

Follow Jonathan Capehart on Twitter.