JET

THE WORD | JET & EBONY MAGAZINES AUCTIONED OFF FOR $30 MILLION AND DONATED TO NATIONAL AFRICAN AMERICAN MUSEUM

Four Foundations Team Up to Buy the Historic Archives of ‘Ebony’ Magazine for $30 Million in a Bankruptcy Sale. The foundations will donate the archive to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture as well as the Getty Research Institute.

Isaac Sutton,  Muhammad Ali and the sports journalist Howard Cosell backstage before the taping of “The Muhammad Ali Variety Special”  (1975). Photo courtesy of Johnson Publishing Company.

Isaac Sutton, Muhammad Ali and the sports journalist Howard Cosell backstage before the taping of “The Muhammad Ali Variety Special” (1975). Photo courtesy of Johnson Publishing Company.

G. Marshall Wilson, Adam Clayton Powell and Malcolm X attend the New York City school boycott rally in March 1964. Photo courtesy of Johnson Publishing Company.

G. Marshall Wilson, Adam Clayton Powell and Malcolm X attend the New York City school boycott rally in March 1964. Photo courtesy of Johnson Publishing Company.

Moneta Sleet Jr.,  Martin Luther King Jr., surrounded by his family, holding the Nobel Peace Prize medal  (1964). Photo courtesy Johnson Publishing Company

Moneta Sleet Jr., Martin Luther King Jr., surrounded by his family, holding the Nobel Peace Prize medal (1964). Photo courtesy Johnson Publishing Company

Thurgood and Cecilia Marshall with their son Thurgood Marshall Jr. after his birth in 1956.

Thurgood and Cecilia Marshall with their son Thurgood Marshall Jr. after his birth in 1956.

Founded in 1942 by John H. Johnson and once the country’s largest African American-owned publishing firm, Johnson Publishing launched Ebony magazine in 1945 and its sister publication Jet in 1951. But Johnson died in 2005, and the company has struggled for at least a decade, first attempting to sell its archives back in 2015. At the time, they were appraised at $46 million. The company sold off Ebony and Jet the following year, and filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation in April.

“The Johnson Publishing archives are an essential part of American history and have been critical in telling the extraordinary stories of African American culture for decades,” said Capital Holdings V in a statement in April, as reported by the Chicago Tribune. “We want to be sure the archives are protected for generations to come.”

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