30,000 Photographs of Black History & Culture Are Available Online in a New Getty Images Archive

Image of Charles S.L. Bak­er with his Super­heat­ing Demon­stra­tion

Black His­to­ry Month is Feb­ru­ary in the Unit­ed States and Cana­da, and Octo­ber in the Unit­ed King­dom and Europe. It may be July right now, but if you’re inter­est­ed in a sub­ject, there’s no rea­son not to get more deeply into it all year round. This is under­scored by the open­ing, this month, of Get­ty Images’ Black His­to­ry and Cul­ture Col­lec­tion. As Petapix­el’s Matt Grow­coot writes, it con­tains “30,000 rarely seen images of the Black dias­po­ra in the Unit­ed King­dom and the Unit­ed States that date back to the 19th cen­tu­ry,” draw­ing from the domains of “pol­i­tics, sport, music, cul­ture, mil­i­tary, and celebri­ty.”

In the Black His­to­ry and Cul­ture Col­lec­tion you’ll find pic­tures of cul­tur­al fig­ures like Duke Elling­ton and Jay‑Z, Jack John­son, Venus and Ser­e­na Williams, Sojourn­er Truth, and Bernar­dine Evaris­to. These names only hint at the range of the archive, which you can also browse by cat­e­go­ry tags: “civ­il rights,” “gov­er­nance,” and “sports,” to name a few exam­ples, but also “fam­i­lies,” “fash­ion,” and “hair.”

There are, of course, an enor­mous num­ber of pho­tos filed under “Amer­i­can Cul­ture,” which would itself be unimag­in­able with­out the con­tri­bu­tions of the peo­ple doc­u­ment­ed. But the same could be said of the oth­er side of the pond; hence the inclu­sion of a “Black British Cul­ture” label as well.

Cre­at­ing the Black His­to­ry and Cul­ture Col­lec­tion involved more than just tag­ging pho­tos. You can learn more about what went into it in the short video above, which includes the voic­es of col­lab­o­ra­tors like NYU Tisch School of the Arts’ Deb­o­rah Willis and the Uni­ver­si­ty of Penn­syl­va­ni­a’s Tuku­fu Zuberi. The artist Rena­ta Cherlise speaks of the val­ue of the images of famous peo­ple, but also those of every­day life as it was lived in places and times like Harlem’s Savoy Ball­room in the nine­teen-for­ties. Whether or not your own her­itage is tied into this his­to­ry, you stand to learn a great deal from it. As Zuberi put sit, “Black cul­ture is the orig­i­nal human cul­ture, so there is no cul­ture that is alien to black cul­ture. The future of black cul­ture is the future of human cul­ture. Let’s go.”

via Petapix­el/Colossal

Relat­ed con­tent:

Take Free Online Cours­es on African-Amer­i­can His­to­ry from Yale and Stan­ford: From Eman­ci­pa­tion, to the Civ­il Rights Move­ment, and Beyond

The Names of 1.8 Mil­lion Eman­ci­pat­ed Slaves Are Now Search­able in the World’s Largest Genealog­i­cal Data­base, Help­ing African Amer­i­cans Find Lost Ances­tors

The Black Film Archive: A New Site High­lights 200+ Note­wor­thy Black Films Made Between 1915–1979

Hear the Voic­es of Amer­i­cans Born in Slav­ery: The Library of Con­gress Fea­tures 23 Audio Inter­views with For­mer­ly Enslaved Peo­ple (1932–75)

Pho­tos of 19th-Cen­tu­ry Black Women Activists Dig­i­tized and Put Online by The Library of Con­gress

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities, lan­guage, and cul­ture. His projects include the Sub­stack newslet­ter Books on Cities, the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall, on Face­book, or on Insta­gram.

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