Illustration: Senior Dinner, 1891
The above illustration depicts Senior Dinner in Cotillion Hall. A black cook stirs a cauldron (labelled '89) over a flame blown by a white jester. The ribbon below them quotes Shakespeare's "Timon of Athens": "We are not thieves, but men who [sic] much do want."
The earliest graphic evidence of a black presence at the Institute is found in illustrations of MIT service staff--cooks, waiters, janitorial staff, and the porter service attached to residence halls. Caricatures in student publications (yearbook, newspapers, and "humor" magazines) echo tropes also prevalent in the national media of the time. By 1891, the only black student on record at MIT is Robert R. Taylor, who would graduate a year later.