CHICAGO (AP) — The photo archive of Ebony Magazine that chronicles African American life is to go on the auction block in July if a Chicago bankruptcy court approves.

The collection is being auctioned to pay off secured creditors of Johnson Publishing. The former magazine publisher filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection in April.

Johnson Publishing sold its Ebony and Jet magazines three years ago. The Chicago-based company has tried since 2015 to sell its photo archive.

The collection of 4 million images chronicles the civil rights movement and the lives of prominent figures such as Billie Holiday and Muhammad Ali. It was once appraised at $46 million.

The auction would recover money owed secured creditors filmmaker George Lucas and Mellody Hobson, whose Capital V Holdings loaned $12 million to Johnson Publishing.

FILE – In this Dec. 10, 2001, file photo, Jet magazine founder John H. Johnson, head of Johnson Publishing Co., sits in his Chicago office. Johnson, Chicago’s iconic Johnson Publishing Co., owner for decades of Ebony and Jet magazines that helped change the image of black people portrayed by U.S. media, filed Tuesday, April 9. 2019, for bankruptcy liquidation in federal court. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.