A critical part of American history and Black America’s legacy is at the center of a recent court filing by businesswoman Mellody Hobson and her husband, “Star Wars” filmmaker George Lucas.
The power couple is trying to foreclose on the photo archives of Ebony and Jet magazines after its original owner, Johnson Publishing Co., filed for bankruptcy earlier this month, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Hobson and Lucas’ company Capital Holdings V LLC gave Johnson Publishing a $12 million loan in effort to help stabilize the struggling former media giant. However, the loan defaulted three years ago and Johnson sold its magazines in 2016, The Root reported.
The recent bankruptcy caused Hobson and Lucas to take action. In a statement through Capital Holdings, the couple said they want to ensure the preservation of the collection, which includes some of the most iconic people and moments in American History.
“We are dedicated to preserving and celebrating stories and storytellers around the world,” Capital Holdings told WSJ. “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.”
Since being founded in 1945 and 1951, respectively, by John H. Johnson, Ebony and Jet have featured a plethora of prominent figures ranging from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X to Angela Davis, Nina Simone and Maya Angelou.
The Ebony photo collection contains 5 million images and was appraised at $40 million in 2014, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Lawyer Miriam Stein is serving as a trustee for Johnson Publishing’s assets. She said she is trying to get insurance for the collection and is opposed to the foreclosure by Capital Holdings, WSJ reported. A hearing is scheduled for next Tuesday.
Twitter users expressed their support of the move and recognized Hobson as a “force” to be reckoned with in her own right.
Written by Isheka N. Harrison