The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame + Museum

Sepia Magazine Photo Archive opens on Martin Luther King, Jr., free admission day

Cleveland, OH (June 8, 2009) - The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum will honor Black History Month and the African-American influence on rock and roll with a new photography exhibit. The Sepia Magazine Photo Archive - 1948-1983: 35 Years of the African-American Experience in Music opens on January 19, 2009 in the Museum’s Ahmet M. Ertegun Main Exhibit Hall’s Circular Gallery. The opening day, also Martin Luther King, Jr., day, is a free admission day at the Rock Hall.

The Sepia exhibition contains more than 40 images originally featured in the magazine during its 35 years of publication – some not seen since their original printing – of African-American musical figures that shaped not just black culture, but the entire world. The exhibition will make its national debut at the Rock Hall and will be open until April 12, 2009.

Photographs that will be showcased in the exhibition include those of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees James Brown, Ruth Brown, Ray Charles, Mahalia Jackson, Bob Marley and Jackie Wilson, as well as such other influential artists as Erroll Garner, Dizzy Gillespie, The Sugarhill Gang, and more.

Sepia magazine was a vital voice in the African-American community for many decades,” said Howard Kramer, curatorial director of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. “The knowledge and information it presented spoke much about its audience, and its audience cared about and loved music.”

First published in Fort Worth, Texas in 1947 by George Levitan, Sepia magazine often exposed the obstacles facing African-Americans but more importantly, it celebrated their accomplishments. By way of its popular photojournalistic style, the magazine closely focused on various aspects of the culture including politics, lifestyle and music. Especially during the civil rights era, Sepia was a clear and steady outlet of the African-American community to express its views and highlight its accomplishments.

“The images in this exhibit depict the diversity of the music, the artists and the times which we lived,” said Carole L. Anthony of Diversified Funk an Urban Mosaic and curator of the Sepia exhibit. “Every music genre we now know was either created or evolved during Sepia’s 35 year span. Based on the origins of rock and roll steeped in blues, gospel, country and jazz, the Rock Hall is the definitive venue for these amazing photographs to make their national debut.”

The archive is owned by the African American Museum in Dallas. For more information on current and upcoming exhibits at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, please visit

About the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is the nonprofit organization that exists to educate visitors, fans and scholars from around the world about the history and continuing significance of rock and roll music. It carries out this mission both through its operation of a world-class museum that collects, preserves, exhibits and interprets this art form and through its library and archives as well as its educational programs.

The Museum is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. On Wednesdays, the Museum is open until 9 p.m. Museum admission is $22 for adults, $17 for seniors (65+), $13 for youth (9-12), $18 for adult residents of Greater Cleveland. Children under 8 and Museum members are free. The Museum is generously funded by Cuyahoga County residents through Cuyahoga Arts and Culture. When you become a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, the world of rock and roll becomes yours to explore. Call 216.515.1939 for information on becoming a member. For general inquiries, please call 216.781.ROCK or visit