Yesterday at the Martha's Vineyard African American Film Festival, Getty Images and Denny's formally launched a partnership rooted in the preservation of HBCUs during the Preserving the History of HBCUs Together panel discussion.
The event was moderated by EBONY Media's Chief Operating Officer, Keija Minor. The panel's participants included Brenda Lauderback, Denny's Board Chair; Cassandra Illidge, Vice President of Global Partnerships and Executive Director of the HBCU Grants Program at Getty Images; and Thomas K. Hudson, J.D., President of Jackson State University.
Through this partnership, Denny's will disburse stipends to students at the participating HBCUs who have been chosen as the recipients of the Getty Images Photo Archive Grants for HBCUs. This program will significantly support the digitization of the invaluable visual history of HBCUs so that it can be honored, revered and accessed for years to come. Additionally, over 100,000 photos will be available for licensing in the “Historically Black Colleges & Universities Collection” on gettyimages.com.
“We want to have many more students to have the opportunity to work in their schools and working to digitize all of their images, giving them an experience they may never have had if they didn’t have this program in place," said Lauderback. "Also, the opportunity for many more HBCUs to be a part of this program—we want to this grow. We know that if we can control our narrative in our schools and amongst our people, we are better off. We don’t need other people telling our story.”
The recipients of the grant's inaugural cohort are Claflin University, North Carolina Central University, Jackson State University and Prairie View A&M University. The goal is for Getty Images to expand this opportunity to other HBCUs in the future.
“First, I want Getty Images to work with every HBCU. Second, I would love to see Black archivists—I want to see students come out of school and be employed at companies like EBONY or Getty Images or Denny’s or back at Jackson State, said Illidge. "Ultimately, the goal of this program is to make a difference in the way the world views history and this will provide a wealth of content for publications and textbooks to be filled with historical events that are relevant to us and were photographed by us.”
In partnership with the Getty Family and philanthropic organization Stand Together, the grants are able to commit $500,000 towards the digitization of HBCU photographic archives, with the respective HBCUs retaining full ownership.
“Whenever there is a Black entity or a Black movie make HBCUs a part of that and this, [the grant] will allow them to easily do so and have access to that. That’s what we want to see, our photos widely used, properly digitized and preserved for our history and for posterity,” added Hudson.