Illuminating the Past: Getty Images’ Black History & Culture Collection

At Historical Stock Photos, we've always championed the cause of making historical imagery accessible to everyone, believing firmly in the power of visuals to inform, educate, and inspire. Today, we're thrilled to spotlight a remarkable initiative that shares our ethos — The Black History & Culture Collection from Getty Images.

About the Initiative

Launched by Getty Images, The Black History & Culture Collection is a not-for-profit initiative designed to amplify the historical and cultural narratives of the African/Black Diaspora in the United States and the United Kingdom.

Garnering content owned by Getty Images, this collection is exclusively for non-commercial use, offering a plethora of resources to augment existing educational materials and pave the way for a deeper understanding of Black History. It also serves as an abundant source of inspiration for educational projects.

One of the highlights of this collection is the impressive panel of internationally recognized historians and educators who have contributed to its development. These include Dr. Deborah Willis of NYU Tisch School of the Arts, Jina DuVernay of Clark Atlanta University, Dr. Tukufu Zuberi of the University of Pennsylvania, and Dr. Mark Sealy MBE and Renée Mussai from the British-based, international, non-profit photographic arts agency, Autograph. These experts have offered invaluable feedback, expertise, and insight, helping to shape the framework and future of the collection.

What the Collection Seeks to Achieve

The methodology behind The Black History & Culture Collection is rooted in education, having been nurtured and guided by the educators' inputs. It serves as a testament to the fact that this collection is more than just an archive of photographs; it's a tool for educators to enlighten and inspire.

A significant aspect acknowledged by the collection is the historical dominance of cultural structures that have framed the Black experience from a white gaze. This collection seeks to rectify that, utilizing rare and enlightening photographs to enhance and bring to light untold stories from the past.

The content of The Black History & Culture Collection is vast, with an initial focus on the histories of the African/Black Diaspora within the US and UK. It includes images that depict people, places, and events throughout history from the 19th century to the present day, thus providing a rich visual narrative of Black History.

This collection represents a significant step in the direction of inclusive education, giving educators and students alike the opportunity to delve into historical narratives that have long deserved more attention.

More Resources

Even if you're not creating an educational resource or campaign, Getty Images has a wide variety of diverse imagery that you can license for your project.

Take a look at the archives of the Afro American Newspapers, which contain over 10,000 images from the world's oldest African-American owned newspaper. You can read more about the Afro, and all our featured collections here as well.

Thomas Smith
Thomas Smith

Thomas Smith is a professional news, travel and food photographer, and CEO of the historical photo agency Gado Images. Smith's work routinely appears in publications including Time Magazine, People Magazine and Food + Wine, and Gado Images' historical photos appear in thousands of publications worldwide. The New York Times called Smith a "veteran programmer".

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