National Institute on Aging

New Initiative Will Help Preserve the Photographic History of HBCUs

From Claflin University archives

Getty Images has made grants of $500,000 to four historically Black universities to digitally archive their photographic collections. The educational institutions receiving grants are Claflin University in Orangeburg, South Carolina, Jackson State University in Mississippi, North Carolina Central University, and Prairie View A&M University in Texas.

Over 100,000 archival and contemporary photos will be converted to digital format in the coming months. These images will be available for licensing in the new Historically Black Colleges and Universities Collection on the Getty Images website. Revenue generated from the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Collection will provide each HBCU with a new revenue stream and support scholarships for students attending their schools. Every school will retain full copyright ownership of their photography.

“The Getty Images Photo Archive Grants for HBCUs were created to honor the vast history of HBCUs and their contribution to American history,” said Cassandra Illidge, vice president of partnerships at Getty Images. “We are committed to preserving the visual narrative of all cultures and communities to ensure these vital artifacts are accessible to storytellers around the world.”

Dwaun J. Warmack, president of Clafin University, one of the four universities receiving grants, added that “this partnership will help Claflin preserve its illustrious history in photographs documenting the university’s emergence as one of the nation’s premier liberal arts universities. These images provide compelling visual narratives of how Claflin’s dedicated and visionary administrators, distinguished faculty and staff, and high-achieving scholars made indelible contributions to Orangeburg, the state of South Carolina, and the world.”


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  1. HBCU Watch says:

    I certainly hope none neoliberal, politically correct, administratively incompetent, and status so-called Black HBCU presidents (Dwaun J. Warmack, Thomas K. Hudson, Johnson O Akinleye, & Ruth Simmons) did not receive this meagerly grant ($500,000/4 HBCU = $125,000)from Getty Images in exchange to have unfettered access or even control of these four HBCU imagery.

    For those who don’t know, Getty Images is valuation worth is $4.8 billion. I certainly hope these the HBCUs don’t allow Getty Images to place a permanent watermark with “Getty Images” on these HBCU photos. This is just a bad as estate of famed photographer Gordon Parks literally giving a significant number of his iconic photos to Yale University.

    In my view, the so-called native born Black American community should not be in the business of allowing people from other “nations” or organizations be the custodian of our cultural artifacts.

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