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Each historically Black college and university embodies its own rich cultural and historical significance, and a new project will put the focus on preserving imagery that gives a lens into the legacies of these educational pillars. Getty Images is providing grants for the digitization of historic HBCU images.

The $500,000 endowment is a collaborative initiative being led by the Getty Family, Getty Images and Stand Together; a philanthropic organization that is centered on eradicating socioeconomic barriers in education, business and government. Through the grant, two historically Black colleges and universities will have up to 100,000 archived images digitized. The imagery will be added to Getty’s HBCU Photo Collection where 50 percent of the proceeds will go to the HBCU grant recipients, 30 percent will be reinvested into the Getty Images Photo Archive Grants for HBCUs initiative, and the remaining 20 percent will support HBCU scholarships. The visual assets will also be featured in the Getty Images Black History & Culture Collection which is slated to launch later this year.

The recipients will be selected by a collective of leaders from nonprofits and companies dedicated to advancing racial equity and capturing poignant Black stories. “Photographic collections housed in HBCU’s from the 20th Century focus on the notion of photography as biography and helped shape the fabric of African American identities,” grant judge Dr. Deborah Willis, Academic Director, Professor & Chair, NYU Tisch School of the Arts, said in a statement. “These collections explore the cultural values, educational and religious traditions, as well as perceptions of Black communities through to the 21st Century. Collective and individual memories are the foundation of these photographs highlighting the classrooms, student activities on campus, scientific explorations, art practices, and the making of portraits from college presidents to teachers and visitors to the campuses. The Getty Images Photo Archive Grants for HBCUs is an essential part of the ongoing documentation and preservation of Black images at HBCUs.”

This isn’t the only initiative focused on preserving the history of HBCUs. In February, the National Trust donated $650,000 to HBCUs to preserve historic buildings on their campuses.


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