Author Archives: Charlene Foggie Barnett, Teenie Harris Archive Assistant & Oral History Coordinator

In Memory of Thelma Williams Lovette: Advocate, Activist, and Mentor


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Charles “Teenie” Harris, Thelma Lovette, Andrea Williams, and Nadine Woodward, gathered at table for Sequoires Tri Hi-Y Club meeting in Centre Avenue YMCA, February 1962, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.14910 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive.

Another icon of civil rights, equality, women’s advancements, and a mentor of youth has left us in death: Mrs. Thelma Williams Lovette. Born on February 28, 1916, and raised as one of 11 children on Wylie Avenue in the Hill District neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Lovette was modest and demure, but quite spunky, which surprisingly offset her outstanding moral strength and civic duty. She never was one to take the spotlight, which is most evident in the Teenie Harris Archive photos of her (only in several instances did she look directly into his lens), but rather she gave focus to the others with her and to the occasion at which she was being photographed. This subtle observance denotes one of her most honorable qualities—humility. I say one of her qualities, because Mrs. Lovette had many.

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Charles “Teenie” Harris, Judge Homer S. Brown swearing in Jake Williams, with Robert “Pappy” Williams third from left, and Thelma Lovette on left, in office, c. 1946-1965, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.11594 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive.

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Charles “Teenie” Harris, Two women, including Sara Schemmer, on left, Thelma Lovette, on right, standing with KDKA’s “Mouth from the South,” possibly in Hilton Hotel, 1972, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.16159 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive.

She came from a family of reserved yet stoic political workers. Graduating from Schenley High School in 1934, she worked full time while attending the University of Pittsburgh to earn both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in social work. She was an elevator operator at Bell Telephone, taught in the Pittsburgh Public Schools, served for 35 years as a Democratic Committee woman, and became the first black social worker at Mercy Hospital. Having grown up spending much time at her local YMCA at the corner of Centre and Herron Avenues, it was only natural that she became an avid YMCA board member as an adult. She was a member of virtually every local and many national civic organizations, and attended the 1963 March on Washington. Her name lies on Freedom Corner in the Hill District with those of other local leaders who played a key role in the struggle for social justice during the civil rights movement in Pittsburgh. She was married (to William J. Lovette), had a daughter (Thelma), and was a pillar in her church. Amazingly, at the age of 80 years old, she ran in the Western Pennsylvania leg of the torch relay for the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. For all of these reasons, and so many more, Mrs. Lovette was honored in 2012 when the new Hill District YMCA was named after her.

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Charles “Teenie” Harris, Thelma Lovette presenting winners of baby contest, from left: Vashti Moreland and Baby Monique; Larue Davis and Baby Stephanie Marie; and Francine Myers standing behind Baby Casandra; sponsors Sarah McCaskill and Lena Davis standing in center back row, gathered in John Wesley AME Zion Church, another version, May 1969, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.16932 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive.

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Charles “Teenie” Harris, group portrait, seated from left: Linda Wilkins, Marcia Ruffin, Marlene Harris, Janet Moore, Jo Ellen Ely, Rosalyn or Rosalind Rivers, Nancy Primus, Gloria Harper, and Carolyn Kimes; standing: Marlene Scott, Thelma Lovette, and Sharon Gloster, posed in Ammon Center, July 1962, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.20442 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive.

Personally, I knew Mrs. Lovette my entire life, and like everyone else, I admired and loved her gentle nature and loving attitude. Her cheerful quips of, “Hi sweetie, what have you been up to lately?” or wry comments about how she was feeling (“not bad for an old lady”) and always leaving you with “Thanks for everything” and “I love you too!” will echo in my head and heart forever. It’s nice when someone so dynamic takes a personal interest in you. Once, to my great surprise, she helped me in a business matter like no one else could have. I was the president of an organization that had to come before the Pittsburgh Planning Commission. I was quite nervous, because my opponent was a major entity, and I felt like a little David to the marauding Goliath that I faced. As the members of the council filed in, I heard a soft and familiar voice—a more than 80-year-old Thelma Lovette’s cheerful “good morning” to her fellow council members. I rushed up to her as she placed her notepads down, and asked her, “Are you on this commission?” She said, “Yes dear, what are you here for?” Hurriedly, I explained my plight, and she assured me she’d make certain that my issues were heard. As the meeting progressed and it came to my portion, Goliath roared and I did my best to counter his arguments. But just when I thought the battle was lost, the true David (Mrs. Lovette) firmly and distinctly asked so many direct questions and demanded responses, that not only was my issue on the official record, but it was regarded with respect because she had come to bat for me. She saved the day.

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Charles “Teenie” Harris, Thelma Williams Lovette, Thelma Lovette (Morris), Betty Jean Williams, Andrea Williams, Jacob “Jake” H. Williams, Alice M. Williams, Alberta Williams, Alice Williams Scott, and Bernard Scott posed behind desk in office, 1968, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.22523 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive.

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Charles “Teenie” Harris, cast of NAACP pageant “Milestones of Democracy,” with Roberta Ratcliffe and Selma Gilmore with teapot in front; and standing: Thelma Lovette wearing Native American style costume, David Haines, Martha Moore, Willa Mae Rice holding fan, Florence Washington, and Carol Adams, at Wesley Center AME Zion Church, May 1, 1955, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.43880 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive.

She also was of prime support in helping the Teenie Harris archivists identify a barrage of people from his photographs. I held a “ladies’ luncheon” at my home, so that some of the senior ladies could go over the archive images in a comfortable setting. Thelma knew absolutely everyone in the photos, and she was so excited to tell us stories about each person she recognized, that she stood on her feet like a teacher, the whole time!

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Charles “Teenie” Harris, group portrait of six women, possibly including Thelma Lovette in center, and one woman standing on left holding sword, in interior with coffee table, books, leaf-patterned sofa, light-colored walls, and windows with light-colored blinds and geometrically patterned curtains, c. 1957, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.46375 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive.

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Charles “Teenie” Harris, Clarence Young, Ted Brown, Mrs. Young, James F. Clarke holding “Playhouse” pamphlet, Mac Simpson, Thelma Lovette, and K. Leroy Irvis, gathered in domestic interior, March-April 1958, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.47716 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive.

I was also privileged to be one of her “party” friends. No one loved to dance more than Ms. Thelma, and she was known far and wide to be the official “electric slide” starter at most recent events. Once she got started, you couldn’t make her sit down—she could out-dance me! Though her body began to falter in recent years, her mind and spirit were as sharp as a tack to the end. Her daughter, Thelma, and I attended an event together this past June, and she took back photos for her mother to see. When daughter Thelma showed mother Thelma the pictures from the event, she said to her, “Oh look, there’s Charlene!” She still knew every face and could recall every story she ever shared. She was made of durable stock.

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Charles “Teenie” Harris, group of Fifth Ward committee members including five men, including Paul F. Jones, seated in center of banquette, and six women, possibly including Thelma Lovette on right, seated in the Terrace Room of the Hotel Terrace Hall celebrating primary election victory, June-July 1958, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.50527 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive.

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Charles “Teenie” Harris, group portrait of fourteen women, possibly including Thelma Lovette wearing light-colored striped blouse and dark grid-patterned coat standing behind them, in interior with two-toned walls and linoleum floor, c. 1962, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.57110 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive.

A few years ago Mrs. Lovette was asked by WQED television what advice she thought a good life should include, she said: “Stay in school—get an education. Do what your parents tell you. Go to church—be part of something, and join organizations like the YMCA.”

Though her funeral was recently held in Arizona, a local memorial service for Mrs. Lovette is being held on August 1 at the Thelma Lovette YMCA on Centre Avenue in her beloved Hill District.

Mrs. Lovette’s spirit reminds me of a quote by another woman of distinction we recently lost: author and civil rights activist Maya Angelou, who once said: “I can do anything—any good thing—and do it well because God loves me and I am amazed and humbled at it.” That was truly Thelma Lovette—she did good things with great humility. And she did them well—a lesson for us all.

Bill Nunn Jr., 1924–2014: Newsman, Steelers Scout, Local Icon


Charles "Teenie" Harris, Group portrait of eight men, including Bill Nunn Sr., Brooklyn Dodgers baseball  players Jackie Robinson and Roy Campanella, Courier sports reporter Chester Washington, and Teddy Horne, c. 1948-1956, gelatin silver print, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 1997.34.3.3 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Group portrait of eight men, including Bill Nunn Sr., Brooklyn Dodgers baseball players Jackie Robinson and Roy Campanella, Courier sports reporter Chester Washington, and Teddy Horne, c. 1948–1956, gelatin silver print, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 1997.34.3.3 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

On a sunny July afternoon in 2011, I had the privilege of going to the home of William G. Nunn Jr. and Frances Bell Nunn, to interview them for the Teenie Harris Archive’s oral histories. I had known them casually in my childhood, but as their front door opened two impressions hit me: 1) Here were some of Pittsburgh’s finest African American citizens, and (2) how much they seemed to still be in love. They greeted me, together, with big smiles and we shared a warm, informative afternoon full of both serious discussion and rich laughter.

Charles "Teenie" Harris, Portrait of Bill Nunn Jr., seated on table, c. 1960-1975, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.3596 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Portrait of Bill Nunn Jr., seated on table, c. 1960–1975, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.3596 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

William Goldwyn Nunn Jr. was born on Sept. 30, 1924, and lived an incredible life. At the time of our interview, he was still going strong, despite having “officially” retired over two decades prior. While analyzing college prospects for the Pittsburgh Steelers 2014 draft, he suffered a stroke, from which he would not recover. The Nunns had been married an impressive 63 years when “Bill” passed at age 89, on May 7, 2014.

Charles "Teenie" Harris, Frank Bolden and Bill Nunn Jr. standing in Pittsburgh Courier newspaper office with portrait of Jessie Vann on wall, c. 1950-1970, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.19317 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Frank Bolden and Bill Nunn Jr. standing in Pittsburgh Courier newspaper office with portrait of Jessie Vann on wall, c. 1950–1970, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.19317 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

William Jr. was born to Maybelle and William G. Nunn—the managing editor of the Pittsburgh Courier newspaper. Bill Jr. had become an outstanding basketball player at West Virginia State University, and in his senior year led the team to an undefeated record. He played with two of the first three Black players to play in the NBA. Upon graduation in 1948, the Harlem Globetrotters tried to recruit him, and he found himself facing the tough choice of what to do with his life. He ultimately chose to take a job with the sports staff of the Courier, (the largest Black newspaper in the country at the time). Later, he became the sports editor, replacing the legendary Wendell Smith, and eventually became the managing editor for the paper.

Charles "Teenie" Harris, Unknown man, Ralph Koger, Charles "Teenie" Harris, and Bill Nunn Jr. posed with trophies and 1968 National Newspaper Publishers Association Merit Award poster, posed in New Pittsburgh Courier newspaper office, c. 1960-1975, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.44744 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Unknown man, Ralph Koger, Charles “Teenie” Harris, and Bill Nunn Jr. posed with trophies and 1968 National Newspaper Publishers Association Merit Award poster, posed in New Pittsburgh Courier newspaper office, c. 1968–1969, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.44744 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

In the late 60s, Mr. Nunn was dissatisfied by the NFL not drafting more African American players. He got the ear of Art Rooney Sr., and was thus lured to the Steelers organization because he felt he could make a real difference for Black athletes. Not everyone appreciated the idea of hiring a newspaperman to scout college players, but Bill proved himself fully worthy to be the first African American appointed to a front office position. As the years of discovering overlooked players who (for the most part) attended historically Black colleges, (such as L.C. Greenwood, Mel Blount, Joe Greene, Dwight White, Glen Edwards, Ernie Holmes, John Stallworth, and Donnie Shell), the Steelers continued to have winning seasons, and Bill’s participation was never questioned again. In fact, although he officially retired from the Steelers organization in 1987, he continued to be a part of the recruitment team for over 46 years, until his death.

Charles "Teenie" Harris, Man filming Regis Bobonis, Mal Goode, Pittsburgh Pirates general manager Joe Brown, and Bill Nunn Jr., during presentation of Pittsburgh Courier's Humanitarian award to Brown on Forbes Field, with Cincinnati Reds baseball player in background, April 1963, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.14071 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Man filming Regis Bobonis, Mal Goode, Pittsburgh Pirates general manager Joe Brown, and Bill Nunn Jr., during presentation of Pittsburgh Courier’s Humanitarian award to Brown on Forbes Field, with Cincinnati Reds baseball player in background, April 1963, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.14071 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Nunn never played nor coached football, but still he was nominated for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2007, and was a 2010 inaugural member of the Black College Hall of Fame. He also was the recipient of six Super Bowl rings, because of his distinction as being one of the longest tenured employees of the Steelers. His name also lies in the West Virginia State University Sports Hall of Fame.

Charles "Teenie" Harris, Group portrait of Bill Nunn Jr., and bride, wearing gown with lace overlay on bodice and sleeves, in church with large pipe organ, and carved altar in background, c. 1940-1955, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.23973 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Group portrait of Bill Nunn Jr., and bride, wearing gown with lace overlay on bodice and sleeves, in church with large pipe organ, and carved altar in background, c. 1940–1955, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.23973 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Mr. Nunn is survived by his lovely wife, Frances (whom he’d known since childhood), his daughter Lynell Nunn (an attorney), his son Bill Nunn III (a film/television/theatre actor), three grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.

I listened to our 2011 interview as I wrote this obituary. It made me wish I had spent even more time chatting with them about their accomplishments in helping other African Americans achieve new heights. Nunn also discussed working with Teenie Harris as both a colleague and his boss. He said Teenie, being older than Bill, taught him a lot about how to approach people favorably. However, when he became Teenie’s boss at the Courier, he asked Teenie to take more than “one shot,” just in case the first one didn’t turn out. Teenie refuted that would never happen, so that was a bit of a disagreement between them, and Teenie never missed the shot (to his knowledge, of course). The Nunns giggled almost like teenagers as they scanned the many photos Teenie had taken of them through the decades— including their wedding portraits. It was a real treat for me to share Teenie’s images of them, which they had never seen before, and to witness the joy it brought them. I’ll always remember fondly how they were linked with their arms around each other and waived to me as I drove away from their house. One of the last things Mr. Nunn said to me was that he “just wanted to make a difference in the lives of African Americans.” He did. They both did, and I left with a serene sense of pride and appreciation for the road they helped pave.

Thelma Lovette YMCA


ymca2On Saturday February 15, 2014, the Thelma Lovette YMCA in Pittsburgh’s Hill District celebrated its second year with an outstanding Black History month event, centering on the theme “From Which We Came.” The Teenie Harris Archive was invited to display the myriads of photos which Teenie shot in and around the old Centre Avenue YMCA, bearing witness that this original community center was, in fact, the “hub of the Hill” in its heyday.

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Established in 1923, it was noted that the first YMCA (at the Corner of Centre Avenue and Francis Street) opened before both the NAACP and the Urban League held branches in Pittsburgh. The many distinguished speakers discussed the fact that the YMCA had been THE place to meet for not just sports events, but organization meetings, society soirees, cotillions, youth groups, plays, and much more. Dr. Leon Haley, who has written a book on the history of the Centre Avenue YMCA, gave an insightful presentation on what went on in the Y, for many decades. There was a Black Civil War Drum Corps reenactment led by John Ford, a performance by the Miller School of African Dance and Drum Troop, as well as elected officials such as city councilman Daniel Lavelle and Bill Robinson giving commendations. Thelma Lovette YMCA executive director, Aaron Gibson, gave a wonderful speech voicing both his, and other board members hopes—that the new facility will come to reflect the positive community bonding of the older facility.

Charles "Teenie" Harris, Capt. Charles B. Hall standing in convertible car between Joseph M. Guffey and David L. Lawrence in Independence Day parade, with broadside on telephone pole in background advertising Louis Jordan at the Savoy, on Centre Avenue at Francis Street in front of YMCA, Hill District, July 4, 1945, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.9794 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Capt. Charles B. Hall standing in convertible car between Joseph M. Guffey and David L. Lawrence in Independence Day parade, with broadside on telephone pole in background advertising Louis Jordan at the Savoy, on Centre Avenue at Francis Street in front of YMCA, Hill District, July 4, 1945, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.9794 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

In the coming months, the Teenie Harris Archive will have a permanent display of several historic images on the internal walls of the new Y. However, for this event, the Harris Archive displayed 4 poster boards with over 70 images (and two notebooks with even more images) of people enjoying the facilities of the old Y. One book centered solely on Teenie Harris capturing the philanthropic work of Mrs. Thelma Lovette in his lens. As a result of our display and chatting with guests, the Harris Archive received more than 30 new identifications of people and events. Many were very sentimental about the images of swimmers, basketball games, ping pong and boxing matches, dance classes, voter registration drives, and teen parties. I even found one of my own mother, doing “calisthenics” in the 1940s. Patrons were eager to share their treasured memories of what they loved about going to the Y. (I was particularly amused to hear about the many courtships begun at this central location.) So once again I’m happy to say the Teenie Harris Archive offered insight and reflection on a most historic Pittsburgh venue.

Charles "Teenie" Harris, Group portrait, from left, seated: James F. Clarke, Thelma Lovette, Theodore "Ted" Brown, K. Leroy Irvis, and William Finch; standing: Leroy Wilcox and William E. "Bill" Miller, gathered in interior with leaf patterned curtains and mirror during primary election campaign, April 1958, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.47750 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Group portrait, from left, seated: James F. Clarke, Thelma Lovette, Theodore “Ted” Brown, K. Leroy Irvis, and William Finch; standing: Leroy Wilcox and William E. “Bill” Miller, gathered in interior with leaf patterned curtains and mirror during primary election campaign, April 1958, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.47750 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Father Donald McIlvane, Dec. 19, 1925–Feb. 16, 2014


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Charles “Teenie” Harris, Group portrait of four men, including reporter to left, Reverend Jimmy Joe Robinson, William “Bouie” Haden, second from right, and Reverend Donald McIlvane on right, outside large church or city building, July–August 1967, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.4693 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

The Rev. Donald McIlvane, a retired Roman Catholic priest and staunch ally to the underserved, passed away February 16, 2014. Father McIlvane was not only a worldwide religious leader, but unquestionably, a compassionate Civil Rights soldier, as well. Although Rev. McIlvane was an unlikely candidate to become a radical priest, having come from a well-to-do family, he served and lived alongside the needy, suffering many similar life experiences, even to the point of being mugged.

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Protesters, possibly including Nate Smith on megaphone in front of, others, including James McCoy, Matthew Moore Sr., Vince Matthews, Herbert Bean, Dr. Charles Greenlee, Rev. Donald McIlvane, Charles Kendall, Charles Michaels, Mike Desmond, Byrd Brown, Gabby Russell, and Pauline Hall demonstrating against discrimination at US Steel in front of Union Trust Building, Downtown, June 1966, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.5867 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

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Protesters, including Rev. Donald McIlvane, and other ministers, picketing slum housing in front of Rittle Rosfeld Real Estate Company, East Street near intersection of Shawano, with Weimer Tire, Four Roses billboard, and Veebee’s Cafe in background, North Side, 1967, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.7113 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

He was once quoted as saying “Martin Luther King had more influence on me than any leader in my life.” In fact he was so influenced by Dr. King, that he joined him in Civil Rights protests nationwide. His human rights efforts spanned six decades, including monitoring South Africa’s post-apartheid election, to which Nelson Mandela became the first democratically elected leader.

Here in Pittsburgh, Rev. McIlvane was often seen in his clerical collar, taking part in meetings, hearings, rallies, or protest marches—all in the quest for human rights. On a personal note, I knew Father McIlvane as a youngster. I remember how diligently he worked beside my father and other local Civil Rights leaders. He impressed me as a person who would do anything to see that justice was given to everyone, be they young, old, white, black, rich or poor—he loved all people, and they felt that from him. Teenie Harris captures the essence of this dedicated servant in these dynamic photographs.

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Nannie L. Carrington and Houston Dargan carrying signs reading “We protest discriminatory seniority units at U.S. Steel”, with Father Donald McIlvane in background, leading picketers against segregation at U.S. Steel in front of Union Trust building, on Grant Street, downtown, June 1966, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.5826 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

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The 2900 Webster Avenue Block Club including in front row: Mrs. McClanahan, Lena Davis, Thelma Lovette, Lucille Anderson, Jessie Lyons, Georgia Murray, and Norvie Dolphin; back row: James Reynolds, Beatrice Bankstown, Father McIlvane, and Emily Davis at the Davis house at 2931 Webster Avenue, Hill District, 1966, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.13088 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

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Bride Victoria Janice Brown wearing pillbox style headpiece with mid length veil, and groom Leon Bryan Jr. wearing eyeglasses, facing Elder Nelson A. Bliss and Father Donald W. McIlvane, gathered at altar in St. Richard Roman Catholic Church, July 1966, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.19625 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

 

 

Teenie Harris Photographs: Baseball in Pittsburgh


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North Side Elks Little League baseball team, front row from left: Sterling Smith, Ronnie Boyd, Emanuel Kelly, Harold Martin, Robert Hampton, Milton Swan; back row: Charles Haran, Jack Bishop, Noel Roach, William Long, Melvin Moore, Ronald Daniels, Wayman Johnson, Roger McCollum, Leonard Johnson, and managers Oliver Boyd and John McCollum, on Kennard Field with Terrace Village in background, May 1953, black and white: Kodak Safety Film; Heinz Family Fund

Batter up! With this familiar phrase, the Teenie Harris Archive of the Carnegie Museum of Art is proud to announce the opening of our new exhibition, Teenie Harris Photographs: Baseball in Pittsburgh, March 22–September 22, 2014. Those of us who’ve struggled through a tough winter are especially anxious to hear those words, because with baseball season starting on the same date, warm weather will not be far behind. Nor will terms such as “wild pitch,” “no-hitter,” and “squeeze play.”

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Group portrait of women’s St. Clair Village softball team with trophy, on playing field at night, c. 1950–1970, black and white: Kodak Safety Film; Heinz Family Fund

The Teenie Harris Archive includes approximately 667 baseball images. The new exhibition will feature 25 highlights from the archive, including images of the Negro League teams such as the Pittsburgh Crawfords and the Homestead Grays, and the show is guest curated by Sean Gibson, the great-grandson of Crawford and Grays player Josh Gibson. Also featured will be Major League Baseball greats Jackie Robinson, Willie Mays, Roberto Clemente, Willie Stargell, Donn Clendenon, Roy Campanella, Curt Roberts, Ted Williams, and Minnie Minoso, among many others. Teenie Harris himself was a co-founder and shortstop for the Crawfords when they were known as the Crawford Colored Giants. We also include photos of Little League teams, women’s teams, managers, umpires, and everyday folks attempting their own grand slams.

If you’re like me, you think of baseball season with delight. I often laugh to myself remembering George Carlin’s famous description of baseball as a happier sport than most others—the wearing of “caps” vs. helmets, that you’re always “up” at bat vs. asking “what down is it?”, that it has no time limit, and that baseball’s objective is to “go home” and “be safe”! As he describes a “kind of picnic feeling” you get while sitting in the stands, I’m reminded of my own sunny summer days spent at Forbes Field. My little legs would burn in the sun, but I didn’t mind a bit, because I had my bag of roasted peanuts and cold soda pop to enjoy the game. My Dad would cheer on his beloved Pirates, and we’d enjoy a day filled with him explaining base hits and double plays.

To whet your appetite for the kinds of images you’ll see at the exhibition, here are just a few of the many baseball-related photos Teenie took all over the Pittsburgh area.

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Portrait of Charles A. “Little Teenie” Harris wearing St. Louis Cardinals’ baseball uniform kneeling with bat, outside home at 7604 Mulford Street, Homewood, 1936, black and white: unknown safety film; Heinz Family Fund

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Bill Nunn Jr., Chicago Cubs baseball player Ernie Banks, Milwaukee Braves player Hank Aaron, and Mal Goode, examining baseball bat on Forbes Field for 1959 All Star game, July 1959, black and white: Kodak Safety Film; Heinz Family Fund

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Baseball executive Branch Rickey Sr. speaking about equal housing rights, in Wesley Center AME Zion Church, with another man on right, May 1959, black and white: Kodak Safety Film; Heinz Family Fund

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New York Yankees baseball players Elston Howard and Yogi Berra in front of dugout, at opening game of 1960 World Series, Forbes Field, October 5, 1960, black and white: Kodak Safety Film; Heinz Family Fund

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Baseball player Jackie Robinson speaking at podium at NAACP fiftieth anniversary event, c. 1959, black and white: Kodak Safety Film; Heinz Family Fund

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Pittsburgh Mayor David L. Lawrence swinging baseball bat in dirt lot with wood and screening batting cage, with man wearing suit acting as catcher, and children in background, c. 1946–1955, black and white: Ansco Safety Film; Heinz Family Fund

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Woman wearing light colored dress pitching ball to elderly woman with bat, with another woman playing umpire, on baseball field, with elderly man and three other women seated on bench in background, another version, c. 1945–1955, black and white: Kodak Safety Film; Heinz Family Fund

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Washington Pennsylvania Pony League baseball players, from left, Harold “Pete” Vactor, Fred “Reggie” Bolden, and Don Ferrell, standing in yard on residential street, Washington, Pennsylvania, August – September 1955, black and white: Kodak Safety Film; Heinz Family Fund

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Portrait of boy wearing short sleeved shirt with jug and sun pattern, holding baseball bat and standing in front of tree in South Park for Pittsburgh Courier newsboys picnic, September 2, 1960, black and white: Kodak Safety Film; Heinz Family Fund

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Two boys and three girls, including one wearing plaid pants swinging baseball bat on fenced field with trees, June 1973, black and white: Kodak Safety Film; Heinz Family Fund

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Pittsburgh Pirates baseball player no. 39 Bob Veale, wearing eyeglasses and glove, posed throwing pitch on Forbes Field, August 11, 1964, black and white: Kodak Safety Film; Heinz Family Fund

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San Francisco Giants baseball player Willie Mays and Pittsburgh Pirates Roberto Clemente, posed on Forbes Field for 1965 season opener, April 1965, black and white: Kodak Safety Film; Heinz Family Fund

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Pittsburgh Pirates baseball player Al McBean wearing fireman’s hat, and unknown fire fighter wearing dress uniform, standing on Forbes Field for 1965 season opener, April 1965, black and white: Kodak Safety Film; Heinz Family Fund