Getty Is One of 4 Foundations Buying Ebony Archive
|James Brown in an undated photo by G. Marshall Wilson. Ebony Archive.
Poet Elizabeth Alexander, president of the Mellon Foundation, instigated the purchase. She and the Ford Foundation's Darren Walker assembed the joint bid in a matter of days. Ford put up the most money ($12.5 million). The Ford press release says the group "will donate the archives to the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Getty Research Institute, and other leading cultural institutions to ensure the broadest possible access for the general public and use by scholars, researchers, journalists, and other interested parties."
The Ebony archive has over 4 million prints, negatives, and videos chronicling black American life, politics, and culture since 1945.
The auction proceeds will help Chicago-based Johnson Publishing pay back a $13.6 million loan to George Lucas and Mellody Hobson (who are building their own museum in Exposition Park).
(Updated several times.)