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Jackson State University Preserves Visual Legacy With Getty Images Grant

With the help of a Getty Images Photo Archives Grant for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Jackson State University has digitized thousands of photos from its historical archives.

The Jackson, Mississippi-based university was one of four HBCU recipients of a $500,000 grant announced earlier this year. The grant program was made possible by the Getty Family and the philanthropic organization Stand Together.

It was created to honor the legacy of HBCUs and their contribution to American History through the preservation of the invaluable visual history of these institutions.

Funds from the grant are being used to digitize a total of 50,000 archival photographs from JSU’s library; 4,000 photos have been digitized so far. It will also support future images captured with camera equipment donated by Getty Images, a leading global creator and marketplace for visual content.

The Jackson, Mississippi-based university was one of four recipients of a $500,000 grant made possible by the Getty Family and the philanthropic organization Stand Together. The program was created to honor the legacy of HBCUs and their contribution to American History by preserving these institutions invaluable visual History of these institutions.

The grant money will be used to digitize 50,000 archival photographs from JSU’s library; 4,000 photos have been digitized so far. It will also support future images captured with camera equipment donated by Getty Images, a leading global creator and marketplace for visual content.

“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, ” said Cassandra Illidge, VP of Partnerships at Getty Images when the selected schools were first announced.

According to Locord Wilson, Ph.D. dean of libraries at JSU, the grant provides equipment, training, and the opportunity to highlight the university’s photo archives in ways it could only dream about previously.

“It allows the world to see what we have to offer and to take it beyond the four walls,” she said n a release. “We have photographs from our early leaders to historic events such as those in the Gibbs-Green Collection to those that depict campus life and our well-known Sonic Boom of the South.”

The photos being scanned cover a wide range of topics. There are images of JSU sports legends like Walter Payton, Robert Brazile and Willie Richardson, as well as writers like Margaret Walker Alexander, Alice Walker and Nikki Giovanni.

“With a wide range of photos, the project is one students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends of JSU can be proud of,” Illidge said.

She said some JSU photos scanned and licensed on gettyimages.com will most likely appear in textbooks, publications and other outlets relevant to African Americans. Getty Images will not profit from such, according to Illidge.

JSU retains all copyright to its photos. Once digitized, they are placed in a new stand-alone photo collection called the Historically Black Colleges & Universities Collection, available for licensing on gettyimages.com.

In addition to the images preserved through the grant, all revenue generated will be used to fund programs, with 50 percent going to grant recipients, 30 percent going to a scholarship fund that helps students at historically black colleges and universities further their education, and 20 percent reinvested to fund Getty Images Photo Archive Grants for these institutions yearly.

“A lot of the photos are historic and have never been seen,” said University Archivist Darlita Ballard.

According to Ballard, three students have so far been trained to scan photos. They will teach additional students in the future. She also added that work in the archives can serve as springboard to careers in the arts, history, photography
and media.

The three other HBCUs, Claflin University, North Carolina Central University and Prairie View A&M University, which received the grant after JSU have scanned about 100 photos from their archives so far, according to Illidge.

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