Faces of Black Penn returns, revitalizing the decades-long history of black publications on campus

Faces of Black Penn is a publication highlighting the black student experience at Penn (photo by Marcus Ramirez).

Faces of Black Penn, a publication highlighting the Black student experience at Penn, returns this semester, reviving a long history of platforms raising the voices and achievements of Black students on campus.

The first edition of the new publication Faces of Black Penn will be published in November. The throwback publication seeks to amplify the experience of Black students on campus through a variety of media, including photography; journalism; opinion pieces; and the spotlights of students, alumni and faculty.

Tarah Paul, junior college, and Marcus Ramirez, senior college, are leading the creation of the Fall 2022 edition of Faces of Black Penn as co-editors. Both students said they were inspired by past efforts and successes to center the black experience at Penn through publications.

“There have always been times in Black Penn history when students tried to create black literary outlets,” Paul said. “[We want to] continuing the legacy that was started by previous generations and being a broader publication, focusing on issues of black student life and Black Penn culture.

The creators look forward to making Faces of Black Penn a long-term publication inspired by older publications that center Black identity and experience.

“Black voices, in particular, compete for visibility and have a strong presence on campus,” Ramirez said.

In the fall of 2019, Faces of Black Penn magazine, published by the Black Student League, highlighted student interviews and photographs of Black Penn students. Paul and Ramirez said they plan to expand the 2019 edition and create a publication that provides more opportunities for students to express themselves.

“We try to showcase and highlight the stories, experiences and opinions of black students at Penn,” said Mason Perry, college junior and the publication’s creative campus and culture editor.

The first black publication at Penn was published in 1979 as a yearbook titled “Black Pride ’79: Black Student News Anthology,” which focused on black student life, extracurricular activities, and interests, according to Reflections: The UPenn Black History Project.

Over the next few years, Penn students also founded a multicultural magazine called The Voice in 1982 and The Vision in 1989. The latter would become the longest-running publication focusing on black student life, popular culture, and events on the campus, posting sporadically through the ’90s.

A version of The Vision briefly returned to campus in September 2014 as a weekly column in The Daily Pennsylvanian featuring black voices on campus, but the opinion column ended in February from l ‘Next year.

“[Similar publications] have always been an important facet of Black Penn,” Paul said. “And that has always been an important aspect of being able to share our stories. And for our stories to be recognized.

Brian Peterson, the director of Makuu: The Black Cultural Center, lectured on the history and advocacy of publications centered on the black experience at Penn. He said he believes in the importance of student-led initiatives like Faces of Black Penn.

“Advocacy is fueled by publications [like The Vision] having a space to say that we need to talk about our experiences and our stories,” Peterson told the DP. take advantage of different resources.

A 2022 college graduate, Hadriana Lowenkron, the DP’s first black editor, said she has focused on efforts to center more black voices at Penn in her tenure as editor. Lowenkron said she hopes that in the future, the DP will work with publication Faces of Black Penn to highlight more black voices on campus.

“[Faces of Black Penn] gives students a chance to share their opinions, thoughts, ideas and showcase all their talent,” Lowenkron told DP.

The publication’s creators said they were excited for students to see the Fall 2022 edition of Faces of Black Penn, which will be released in November.

“We are delighted to [Black students] to see it and hope it resonates well with them and see themselves in the magazine,” Perry said.

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