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Power couple George Lucas and Mellody Hobson are trying to take possession of Ebony magazine’s historic photo archives, which were used as collateral for a $12 million loan they made to now-bankrupt Johnson Publishing four years ago.

Capital Holdings V, a company controlled by the filmmaker and his financier wife, filed a motion Wednesday in Chicago federal Bankruptcy Court seeking to foreclose on the archives, citing the risk to their loan repayment and the iconic photo collection itself.

On Thursday, Lucas and Hobson issued a statement through their company expressing the need to preserve the Ebony archives.

“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,” the company said. “We want to be sure the archives are protected for generations to come.”