Jackson State University (JSU) and Getty Images (NYSE: GETY), a preeminent global visual content creator and marketplace, are preserving history with the launch of a new photo exhibition, “A JSU Homecoming Legacy: Connecting the Past to the Future.” The exhibit highlights and captures the spirit of JSU’s homecoming from the university’s early years until the present day through 30 rarely seen images from JSU’s Archives, newly digitized through Getty Images’ Photo Archive Grants Program for HBCUs.
The exhibition, which aligns with JSU’s 2023 homecoming theme, “Thee Legacy Continues,” will open to the public Wednesday, Oct. 11, through Wednesday, Oct. 18, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Johnson Hall Art Gallery on the university’s main campus. The exhibit is closed on weekends.
“Jackson State University has a tremendous Tiger legacy, and we are very excited to collaborate with Getty Images on the release of this exhibit and continue to build upon the foundations established around homecoming with students, faculty, staff, administrators, alumni, and all included in the history of our HBCU,” said Locord Wilson, Ph.D., interim dean of libraries, JSU H.T. Sampson Library, which houses the university’s archives.
The exhibit was curated by a diverse and intergenerational group of staff and administrators from JSU and Getty Images, who believe in harnessing the power of photographic storytelling to show the rich history of the nation’s HBCUs. The images are also informed by hundreds of years of Mississippi movements and moments that underscore what homecoming and JSU mean to the greater community.
The exhibition is also an extension of Jackson State’s selection last year as one of four recipients to receive the Getty Images Photo Archives Grant for HBCUs made possible by the Getty Family and the philanthropic organization Stand Together. The program commits $500,000 to digitize HBCU photographic archives and has supported the digitization, metadata, and keywording for over 5,000 archival photographs from JSU’s library.
“We are proud to work with JSU and all other HBCUs to increase access to unique imagery and bring awareness to untold stories,” said Cassandra Illidge, vice president of global content partnerships at Getty Images. “A single photo can encompass a lifetime of experiences that help shape the world. This exhibition is a testament to the power of visual storytelling, collaboration, respect, and a celebration of the impact of HBCU’s history for generations to come.”
Those who attend the exhibit will receive a dose of nostalgia by reveling in the evolution of JSU homecomings, from black and white photos of the university’s early football teams and cheerleaders to vibrant images of the Sonic Boom of the South and Prancing J-Settes. One may even catch a glimpse of themselves in afros and bell bottoms. All the images are designed to tell a robust story of the history and thrill of Jackson State homecomings.
Guests can purchase the imagery on display in the gallery from an onsite brochure for direct shipping to their location of choice via photos.com.
Committee members Brittany Myburgh, Ph.D., assistant professor of art history in the Department of Art & Theatre, and Mark Geil, interim chair and associate professor in the Department of Art & Theatre, played a crucial part in helping to select the photos for installation in the exhibit, along with JSU archivist Darlita Ballard, Getty Images curator Shawn Waldron and others.
“The fact that the Getty Images program has supported our students in learning the archival skills they need to preserve and tell this history is truly significant. Our students are the next generation of archivists and historians who will tell the story of Jackson State University and continue this legacy,” said Myburgh. “To tell the story of Jackson State University in one exhibit is no small task, but these images truly capture the milestones of this HBCU and the joy and celebration of homecoming.”
More information about the exhibit can be found here.