Charles H. “Teenie” Harris

Charles H. “Teenie” Harris (1908-1998) was an American photographer known for his extensive documentation of African-American life in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He was born on July 2, 1908, in Pittsburgh. Harris began his photography career in the 1930s and worked for the Pittsburgh Courier, one of the most influential African-American newspapers of the time. Over the span of several decades, Harris captured thousands of photographs that chronicled the daily life, events, and notable figures within Pittsburgh’s African-American community.

Vice President Richard Nixon and Pat Nixon greeting the crowd from a car, including Harold Irwin, Centre Avenue, Hill District, October 1960.

His photographs provide a valuable visual record of the social, cultural, and political aspects of African-American life during the mid-20th century. Harris photographed a wide range of subjects, including local businesses, musicians, athletes, civil rights activists, church gatherings, social events, and everyday individuals. Harris’s work played a significant role in preserving the history and experiences of African-Americans in Pittsburgh. His photographs serve as an important resource for researchers, historians, and individuals interested in understanding the African-American experience during that time period.

Lena Horne lounging on a floral sofa at Stanley Theater, circa 1944

In 2001, the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh acquired the Teenie Harris Archive, which includes approximately 80,000 of Harris’s negatives. This collection has been the basis for numerous exhibitions and publications, showcasing the richness and diversity of African-American life as captured by Harris’s lens.

Charles H. “Teenie” Harris passed away on June 12, 1998, leaving behind a legacy of photographs that continue to be celebrated and studied for their cultural and historical significance. His work has helped shed light on the achievements, struggles, and everyday lives of African-Americans in Pittsburgh, contributing to a deeper understanding of their contributions to the city’s history.

Boxer Muhammad Ali (Cassius Clay) lifting his mother Odessa Grady Clay, in a room at Carlton House Hotel, 1963

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