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Photo from Black Penn Yearbook.

This spring, Penn seniors encompassed four years of Black student life on campus with a yearbook showcasing and awarding the most recent graduating senior class — bringing back a decades-long tradition of yearbooks commemorating the Black community.

Dallas Ryan, Black Penn Yearbook editor and Class of 2022 College graduate, had the idea to create a yearbook in January of 2022. Ryan worked alongside Co-Editor Ayo Adesunloye, another Class of 2022 College graduate, to highlight most members of the 2022 graduating Black senior class through portraits, superlatives, and shoutouts to memorable faculty, students, and staff members.

“I saw the yearbook as a vessel of all the memories and all the friendships and the people that we met,” Ryan said. “The seniors deserve to be recognized for all the achievements that they've made.”

Inside the yearbook, student’s accomplishments are illustrated through accolades and superlatives for those students who achieved significant accomplishments in their undergraduate study at Penn. The yearbook also contains ads for clubs dedicated to supporting Black students, including the Black Student League.

Ryan and Adesunloye hope to revive the Penn tradition of creating a yearbook celebrating Black students. In 1989, student residents published "Positively Black," a yearbook dedicated to all Black students at Penn. The epicenter of the work done for the Black Penn Yearbook was Du Bois College house, a college house on campus with a rich history as a safe space and campus center for Black students.

2019 saw the launch of a new edition that was inspired by the 1989 edition. Now, the Black Penn Yearbook follows in the footsteps of past yearbooks by rekindling the tradition of the Black senior class.

“It’s a symbol of the small community we have,” said Adesunloye. “I'm sure in 5 or 10 years to be able to have something where we can look back and see a lot of students that we spent most of our time with is a really useful thing to have.”

Staff at Makuu, Penn's Black cultural house, bought 250 copies of the yearbook and distributed them to seniors at a graduation ceremony commemorating Black students. Makuu Associate Director Michelle Houston emphasized the need for the yearbook to be accessible to all students.

“When you have a space, especially an archival space that highlights [Black students’] experience and their black joy, and that has your memories with your friends and allows you to to look back on that time — it's just a valuable asset, and I feel like all students deserve that kind of archive,” said Houston.

Students can visit Makuu, located inside of the ARCH building on campus, to view the Black Penn Yearbook.

Correction: A previous version of this article misrepresented the 1989 “Positively Black” yearbook as being dedicated exclusively to Du Bois College House residents, when, in fact, the 1989 “Positively Black” yearbook was dedicated to all Black students at Penn. The text of this story has been updated accordingly. The DP regrets this error.