January 21, 2022

Non-Profit Consortium Forms Advisory Council, Shares Plan to Preserve Historic Ebony and Jet Photographic Archive

From the MacArthur Foundation:

The nonprofit consortium that acquired the archive of Johnson Publishing Company, publisher of EbonyJet and other iconic publications, today announced an Advisory Council that will inform the preservation and future use of the historic photographic collection to ensure the archive is made available for broad public use.

The archive includes 3.35 million negatives and slides, 983,000 photographs, 166,000 contact sheets, and 9,000 audio and visual recordings, comprising the most significant collection illustrating African American life in the 20th century. The archive was acquired last year for $30 million by the Ford Foundation, the J. Paul Getty Trust, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Smithsonian Institution in an effort to safeguard the unparalleled treasure of African American history and culture for the public benefit.


As part of plans to make the collection available to the broader public, the MacArthur Foundation will host an event in Chicago this summer, showcasing selected images from the archives. The collection is currently in Chicago where conservators, curators and IT specialists are processing the items.

The consortium recently established an Advisory Council to advise the co-owners of the archive on the evaluation and interpretation of the collection, as well as on related programming, until it is transferred to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Getty Research Institute and, possibly, other cultural institutions. The council comprises leaders in academia, art, culture, and media and is chaired by Carla Hayden, Librarian of Congress. Members of the Council include:

  • Louise Bernard, Director, Museum of the Obama Presidential Center at The Obama Foundation
  • Dawoud Bey, Photography Professor, Columbia College Chicago
  • Darlene Clark Hine, Board of Trustees Professor of African American Studies and Professor of History, Northwestern University
  • Meredith Evans, Archivist, historian, scholar, Director of the Jimmy Carter Library and Museum
  • Jonathan Holloway, Incoming President of Rutgers University
  • Kellie Jones, Professor in Art History and Archaeology at the Institute for Research in African American Studies, Columbia University
  • Richard Powell, John Spencer Bassett Professor of Art & Art History, Duke University
  • Brent StaplesNew York Times Editorial Board member
  • Jacqueline Stewart, Professor of Cinema and Media Studies, Director of Arts & Public Life, University of Chicago
  • Deborah Willis, Director of the Institute of African American Affairs, Professor and Chair of the Department of Photography & Imaging, Tisch School of the Arts

Learn More, Read the Complete Announcement, View Images

See Also: Report: Historic Ebony and Jet Photo Archive to Be Auctioned Off to Pay Creditors (July 2019)

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.