The Historical Value of The ‘Ebony,’ ‘Jet’ Photos Sold For $30 Million

The Johnson Publishing photography archive of iconic photos taken for Ebony and Jet magazines will be up for auction later this month. The winning bidder will acquire some 4.5 million images of African American life.
The Johnson Publishing photography archive of iconic photos taken for Ebony and Jet magazines will be up for auction later this month. The winning bidder will acquire some 4.5 million images of African American life. Creative Commons
The Johnson Publishing photography archive of iconic photos taken for Ebony and Jet magazines will be up for auction later this month. The winning bidder will acquire some 4.5 million images of African American life.
The Johnson Publishing photography archive of iconic photos taken for Ebony and Jet magazines will be up for auction later this month. The winning bidder will acquire some 4.5 million images of African American life. Creative Commons

The Historical Value of The ‘Ebony,’ ‘Jet’ Photos Sold For $30 Million

More than a million photos from Jet and Ebony magazines sold for $30 million on Wednesday, to a consortium of foundations that plan on donating the archive for public use.

Chicago-based Johnson Publishing, which owns Jet and Ebony, put the massive archive up for sale after the company filed for bankruptcy in April.

Morning Shift sits down with a former Johnson Publishing employee of 19 years to discuss the historical value of the photo archive and the legacy of the magazine empire.

GUEST: Margena A. Christian, author and lecturer at the University of Illinois at Chicago

LEARN MORE: 'Ebony,' 'Jet' Photos Sold To J. Paul Getty Trust For $30 Million (WBEZ 7/25/19)

Photo Archive Of 'Ebony' And 'Jet' Is Up For Auction (NPR 7/24/19)

Former Johnson staffer’s tell-all: ‘The House That John H. Johnson Built’ (Chicago Sun-Times 4/15/19)