Filmmaker George Lucas, Wife Mellody Hobson Seek Control of Ebony, Jet ArchivesHistorians in the News
tags: media, archives, George Lucas, Mellody Hobson, Jet, Ebony
Businesswoman Mellody Hobson and her husband, filmmaker George Lucas, are seeking to take control of Ebony and Jet magazines’ archives, a collection of thousands of pictures and recordings chronicling about 70 years of African-American life and culture that includes original photos of Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Muhammad Ali and Maya Angelou.
The archives are currently uninsured and their continuing preservation has been put at risk because of the recent bankruptcy of the magazine’s former owner, Johnson Publishing Co., according to court papers filed by a company the couple controls. The archive is collateral for a $12 million loan that the company, Capital Holdings V LLC, provided the former magazine publisher.
That loan, which has been in default for about three years, matured shortly before Johnson Publishing sold Ebony and Jet to a Texas-based private-equity firm. The publisher filed for chapter 7 liquidation earlier this month amid a yearslong decline in print which has roiled the magazine industry and driven other publishers to bankruptcy.
“We are dedicated to preserving and celebrating stories and storytellers around the world,” Capital Holdings said in a statement to The Wall Street Journal. “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. We want to be sure the archives are protected for generations to come.”
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