According to thegrio.com, Good Black News, and Rejoice! the photo archives of EBONY and JET magazines were sold at auction on last week. A group of buyers including the J. Paul Getty Trust, in association with the Ford Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation purchased the historic photos for $30 million.
To quote The Grio:
According to the Chicago Tribune, the archive will go to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Getty Research Institute, as well as other institutions so that researchers and scholars will have access.
“There is no greater repository of the history of the modern African-American experience than this archive,” James Cuno, president of The J. Paul Getty Trust, said in a press release. The trust is the lead purchaser in the consortium. “Saving it and making it available to the public is a great honor and a grave responsibility.”
The archive, which chronicles seven decades of Black life in America and consists of millions of images, was placed up for auction by the Chicago-based Johnson Publishing Co., after filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in April.
Creditors owed include filmmaker George Lucas and his wife financial investment advisor Mellody Hobson, who own Capital V Holdings and gave a $12 million loan to Johnson Publishing. Lucas and Hobson were eligible to bid on the archives using the money that was owed to them. They could also have received the full collection in foreclosure if there had not been another bidder for the archives.
“The Johnson Publishing archives are an essential part of American history and have been critical in telling the extraordinary stories of African American culture for decades,” Lucas and Hobson’s company said back in April. “We want to be sure the archives are protected for generations to come.”