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Black Publications at Penn

February 11, 2011
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Black publications at the University of Pennsylvania have had a long, rewarding, and at times, tumultuous history.  Black Pride ’79: Black Student News Anthology was the University’s first black publication.  Released in 1979, Black Pride ’79 was a black student yearbook that offered a glimpse into black Penn students’ experiences, accomplishments, and extracurricular activities.  Although the publication received administrative support, only one issue was produced.

Shortly thereafter, The Voice, a multicultural newspaper was founded.  Established in March 1982, The Voice had a more political overtone to its writing and articles than its 1979 predecessor.  This newspaper featured interviews with then United Minorities Council Chairman Marc Rodriguez, several articles about former Philadelphia Police Commissioner Frank Rizzo, and U.S. Representative Chaka Fattah.  The newspaper also highlighted campus events such as Black Student League and Chinese Cultural Society meetings.  The Voice printed consistently until 1987.

Former Tennessee Congressman Harold Ford Jr. (C’92), Altoine Scarborugh (C’92), and Gabriella Glore (W’91) established Penn’s longest-running black publication, The Vision, in October 1989.  The Vision had a slightly less militant edge than The Voice, opting instead to focus more on black student life, popular culture, and campus events.  The newspaper published sporadically until the mid-2000s, and now exists as a blog.

In the 2000s, several black publications were founded in The Vision’s absence.  The Little Black Book was founded in 2005 to cater to the interests of black women.  It has since expanded to represent the needs and interests of black men.  The magazine includes student interviews, articles about past and present student life and politics, poetry, and short stories.  The magazine is produced bi-annually, and has a blog supplement.  Approximately 1 in 4 undergraduate students currently read The Little Black Book.  Created in Spring 2010, The Esu Review was sponsored by the Center for Africana Studies.  It was the nation’s first undergraduate journal of Africana Studies.  The journal contained essays, interviews, and visual art.  The Esu Review has only published one issue to date.  Perhaps more faculty advising and institutional support can provide a black publication with a solid foundation to rival the longevity of its white counterparts.

Nichole Nelson, C’11

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One Comment leave one →
  1. thinkvisionary permalink
    March 26, 2011 10:37 pm

    For more info on The Vision, please go to http://www.upennvision.com!

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