Stock image powerhouse Getty Images has launched an initiative to elevate black culture and history. The Black History & Culture Collection (BHCC), was created to provide free non-commercial access to historical and cultural images of the African/Black Diaspora in the US and UK from the 19th century to the present day.
The collection aims to grant access to rarely seen images to educators, academics, researchers, and content creators, enabling them to tell untold stories about Black culture.
The collection is available for projects focused on education around the histories and cultures of the African/Black Diaspora, dating back to the 1800s. Usage of the images is strictly for non-commercial use, however.
“Getty Images is committed to making this historical content accessible to ensure a more authentic representation of world history and drive more meaningful dialogue,” said Cassandra Illidge, Vice President of Partnerships at Getty Images. “This collection was curated in partnership with a roster of prestigious historians and educators with the goal of providing unfettered access to historical and contemporary imagery which will help content creators who have been seeking an inclusive visualization of history.”
The collection contains a wealth of historical images which will only become richer with time. The collection ranges from early photographs taken in the 1800s of Zulu tribesmen working in mines to slaves working on plantations in America, to photos of abolitionist and civil rights figures, the Notting Hill carnival in the 1980s and the Black Lives Matter protests of recent years.
Opening up these archives to wider use is an important step in celebrating cultural diversity and keeping historical events visible as a resource. It will help people to learn more about their own histories and create dialogues around cultural identities for creatives, storytellers and students.
The Black History & Culture Collection is part of a wider program of activity Getty Images has made toward antiracism, inclusion, and dismantling discrimination. In 2021, the company established the Getty Images Photo Archive Grants for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). This supported the digitization of archival photos from Historically Black Colleges and Universities.