The beloved photography archive from Ebony & Jet’s historic publication run has finally found a home. 4 million photos featuring African American history that spans a generation will be donated to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles and other cultural centers, Washington Post reports.
The donation is thanks to the help of The Ford, Andrew W. Mellon and John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur foundations and the J. Paul Getty Trust, who paid $30 million to purchase the archive from Johnson Publishing.
In order for the acquisition to be finalized, the purchase must be court approved.
“The archive is a national treasure and one of tremendous importance to the telling of black history in America,” Ford Foundation President Darren Walker said in a statement. “We felt it was imperative to preserve these images, to give them the exposure they deserve and make them readily available to the public.”
Film and TV genius Ava DuVernay praised the move, thanking Darren Walker and the foundations for making sure the collection wound up in good hands.
“The Ford Foundation, along with the Mellon and MacArthur Foundations and the Getty Trust, paid $30 million to acquire the Ebony/Jet Magazine archive and donate it to @NMAAHC. Where it should be. Bravo, @DarrenWalker and all involved. This is big.”
“The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture is proud to collaborate with the consortium and the Getty Research Institute on this important endeavor to preserve and share the richness of these iconic publications,” Smithsonian Secretary Lonnie G. Bunch III, founding director of the African American Museum, said to press.
“Ebony and Jet magazine helped shape our nation’s history, allowing Americans — of all colors — to see the full panorama of the African American experience. Together, our organizations will ensure these images, stories and the history of these publications are well-preserved and available to the public and future generations.”