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"Graduation Day" is a hand-coloured Gelatin silver print taken in 1939 by renowned photographer James Van Der Zee. Born on June 29, 1886, in Lenox, Massachusetts, James Van Der Zee developed his passion for photography at a young age and later went on to open up his own studio in Harlem in 1916. He became a leading figure during the Harlem Renaissance in the 20's and 30's. Although he took photographs of Harlemites of all backgrounds and occupations, Van Der Zee became most known for his portraits of celebrities as well as for his comprehensive effort at capturing middle-class African-American life at that time.