[PW] photographs of black news-makers
wmadavis at gmail.com
Wed Aug 10 14:47:50 PDT 2016
Teenie Harris Collection
The Teenie Harris online collection contains 541 images taken by
Pittsburgh photographer Charles "Teenie" Harris that documents life
in the black communities of Pittsburgh from the 1920s to the 1970s.
The images show weddings, funerals, family portraits, church events,
street scenes, businessmen, and mill workers. The majority of the
prints in the collection were chosen to represent online.
Images were selected for their unique ability to illustrate various
aspects of Pittsburgh in an artistic light.
What's in the entire collection
The collection, held by the Carnegie Museum of Art, comprises more
than eighty thousand images taken between 1935 and 1975. Most images
are negatives, though there are over six hundred prints in the collection.
About Teenie Harris
In a forty-year career as a freelance and staff photographer for the
Pittsburgh Courier, one of the oldest black newspapers in the
country, Teenie Harris amassed a photo-historical record nearly
unrivaled in the archives of urban American life. The late Clarence
Rollo Turner, a sociologist and historian of black history, said
Harris' work constitutes "one of the most complete chronologies of a
black community in the United States."
The value of Harris' legacy lies not only in the sheer volume of
images, but also in the range and expressiveness of the pictures he
took. Unlike his better-known contemporaries, such as James Van Der
Zee, who focused on studio portraits, and Gordon Parks, who traveled
extensively to pursue his craft, Harris' milieu was the spontaneous
documentation of daily life in his own community. Working for the
Courier and out of his personal studio from the 1930s to the 1970s,
Harris photographed documented the realities of a segregated
Pittsburgh at mid-century, and the efforts of black Americans in
their fight for civil rights.
At 01:24 PM 8/10/2016, you wrote:
>This is purely for my own research, so, there's no hurry. I am
>working on a conference paper and finding it very difficult to
>locate photographs of certain black news-makers from the
>1920s-1930s. The news industry was segregated, sad to say, and black
>reporters generally worked for the black press; but many of those
>papers are now defunct, or under new ownership, and their photo
>files have either vanished or were never preserved. I can easily
>find the photos on microfilm, but they are usually of very poor
>quality and would not look good in a presentation.
>I especially need some photos that appeared in the Chicago Defender
>& Pittsburgh Courier in the mid-to-late 1930s, but neither newspaper
>has saved the originals; nor does the Library of Congress or the
>Chicago Public Library own copies-- I've checked (both online, and
>by calling their archivists). Any ideas about whether a repository
>for news photos from the black newspapers and magazines exists
>anywhere? Thanks for any suggestions.
>Donna L. Halper, PhD
>Associate Professor of Communication and Media Studies
>Lesley University, Cambridge MA
>Project Wombat - Project-wombat
>list at project-wombat.org
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