Category Archives: Pittsburgh

Women of the Civil Rights Movement


In honor of Black History Month, below are some photographs of local women who aided in the struggle of Civil Rights, as seen through the lens of Charles “Teenie” Harris. In Teenie’s heyday, these ladies were quite instrumental and inspirational in the fight for racial equality. Their plight was most often displayed in a quiet yet unyielding push in education, social services, employment, charitable aid, medicine, and housing. As wives and mothers, their strength propelled them to build a better world, not only for themselves, but for the generations to come. We thank these pillars of society.

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Group portrait of NAACP workers, seated from left: Melusena Carl Whitlock, Lucy Robinson or Susan Fowler, Coretta Ogborne or Ogburn, John G. Jones, Romaine Jackson Childs; standing: Rev. Samuel L. Spear and Boyd L. Wilson, gathered around table for 1954 NAACP Membership Campaign, May 1954, black and white: Kodak Safety Film; Heinz Family Fund

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Men and women wearing name tags that read “NAACP Pennsylvania State Conference”, possibly including Peggy Lavelle standing second from left, and Alma Speed Fox seated second from right, at registration table, October 23-25, 1959, black and white: Kodak Safety Film; Heinz Family Fund

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Louis Mason Jr. of the NAACP presenting plaque to Edward Young, Program director of KDKA, wearing eyeglasses, with inscription “Radio Station KDKA…National Association for the Advancement of Colored People”, with Rosa Parks standing between them, 1958, black and white: Kodak Safety Film; Heinz Family Fund

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Eight women, members of the Alpha Sigma Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, modeling suits, left to right, seated: Barbara Pollard, Amelia Dobbs, and Barbara Alston Clark; standing: June Gibson, Patricia Yancey, Patricia Prattis, Jewel Clark Taylor, and Linda Pollard, posed for youth fashion show at Carnegie Institute of Technology, another version, June 1962, black and white: Kodak Safety Film; Heinz Family Fund

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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; Heinz Family Fund

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Fourteen women, including Marilyn Ware [Parker], Coretta Osbourne, Alma Speed Fox, ? Hall, and Dolores Stanton in back row, NAACP Women’s Auxiliary members, posed in interior with floral bouquet wallpaper, another version, 1967, black and white: Kodak Safety Film; Heinz Family Fund

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Group portrait of Judge Henry Smith, Marion Bond Jordon, Daisy Lampkin, possibly Margie Walton, and Bishop Charles Foggie, standing in interior with vent in ceiling, c. 1945-1960, black and white: Kodak Safety Film; Heinz Family Fund

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Portrait of Alma Speed Fox wearing dark double breasted suit with striped scarf, leading hand on back of metal folding chair, 1970, black and white: Kodak Safety Film; Heinz Family Fund

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Group portrait from left: C. Dolores Tucker, Alma Speed presenting “Daisy Lampkin Award” bowl to Wilhelmina Byrd Brown, and Mary Gloster, at Women’s Auxiliary of NAACP dinner dance, Roosevelt Hotel, February 1967, black and white: Kodak Safety Film; Heinz Family Fund

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Group portrait of five women, Mai Ratcliffe, Mabel Bookert, Mary Jane Page, Elizabeth Younge, and Miriam Fountain, posed behind table for initiation into Links Club, in home of Daisy Lampkin with floral wallpaper, June 1953, black and white: Kodak Safety Film; Heinz Family Fund

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Group portrait of unknown man, Marion Bond Jordon, Rev. LeRoy Patrick, and Rev. Charles Foggie at podium, on stage at Soldier’s and Sailor’s Memorial Hall for NAACP protest rally, October 1955, black and white: Kodak Safety Film; Heinz Family Fund

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Group portrait including, seated left to right, Jessie Vann, Atty. Henry Smith, Irving Beauford, Matthew Moore, Florence J. Reizenstein, and Sylvester Anderson, standing from left to right, Louis Mason Jr., Theodore Jones, and Clarence “Larry” Huff, gathered around banquet table for the NAACP Human Rights dinner, October-November 1957, black and white: Kodak Safety Film; Heinz Family Fund

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Mary Alexander, Daisy E. Lampkin, Dorothy Height, and Mary White, gathered for Pittsburgh Council of Negro Women event at Warren Methodist Church, May 1958, black and white: Kodak Safety Film; Heinz Family Fund

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Group portrait, seated from left: Mrs. Albert Goldsmith, Florence J. Reizenstein, Mrs. O. S. Bond, Charlene Foggie, Mrs. Sari Patton, Mrs. Harold Jones, Mrs. William Frederick; standing: Mrs. J. P. Howell, Bernice Utterback, Charlotte Primas, Alma Pulliam, Mrs. B. Dykes, Mrs. William Goode, Mrs. William Morgan, Aileen Sawyer, Marion Bond Jordon, Mrs. H. Morrison, Marie Robinson, Mrs. Robert Lavelle, Hazel Garland, Mrs. LuGene Bray, Mrs. Leslie Shelton, Mrs. E. Burley, and Madeline Sharpe Foggie, gathered in garden of Jordon home, Andover Terrace, September 1961, black and white: Kodak Safety Film; Heinz Family Fund

Group portrait of two men, and fifteen women, including seated: Mrs. Abraham Lincoln, second on left, Mary McLeod Bethune, center, and Jessie Vann, second from left; and standing: Wilhelmina Byrd Brown, second on left, Alma Illery, center, and Alma Polk, right, possibly at banquet for the Pittsburgh Branch of the National Council of Negro Women, c. 1949, black and white: Agfa Safety Film, Heinz Family Fund

Group portrait of two men, and fifteen women, including seated: Mrs. Abraham Lincoln, second on left, Mary McLeod Bethune, center, and Jessie Vann, second from left; and standing: Wilhelmina Byrd Brown, second on left, Alma Illery, center, and Alma Polk, right, possibly at banquet for the Pittsburgh Branch of the National Council of Negro Women, c. 1949 black and white: Agfa Safety Film; Heinz Family Fund

Teenie Harris & the Great Appalachian Storm


Charles "Teenie" Harris, Man, possibly Charles "Teenie" Harris, digging car out of snow at Harris's home, 7604 Mulford Street, with Giarusso Bros. grocery store in background, Homewood

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Man, possibly Charles “Teenie” Harris, digging car out of snow at Harris’s home, 7604 Mulford Street, with Giarusso Bros. grocery store in background, Homewood

Much news attention has been given to Snowmageddon and the Polar Vortex, but in 1950, the Great Appalachian Storm dumped over 30 inches of snow during Thanksgiving weekend in Pittsburgh. The city was essentially shut down for days, the Allegheny County coroner warned those over the age of 45 against shoveling snow, and most of the newspapers ceased to print for a day or two. And Teenie Harris (who was used to being everywhere all of the time) was possibly stuck shoveling out as well.

Charles "Teenie" Harris, Mulford Street buried in snow, with man shoveling in center, Homewood, c. 1950, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Heinz Family Fund

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Mulford Street buried in snow, with man shoveling in center, Homewood, c. 1950, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Heinz Family Fund

Charles "Teenie" Harris, Child seated in snow drift in front of house at 2606 Mulford Street, Homewood, c. 1950, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Heinz Family Fund

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Child seated in snow drift in front of house at 7606 Mulford Street, Homewood, c. 1950, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Heinz Family Fund

I asked Charles A. Harris, Teenie Harris’s oldest son, what his dad thought of snow:

“I was very young when my father took me aside and talked about people who liked snow because it was so pretty. He really impressed upon me that though it may be pretty to look at from inside, there was always someone trying to go to work; many many accidents are caused by snow for people who don’t have a choice. In addition, there are ambulances that have to travel dangerous streets on their way to the hospital. In a word, he HATED SNOW!”

And it shows—out of over 70,000 negatives that we’ve cataloged so far, there are only around 120 that feature snow. Throughout his career, snow impeded his photojournalistic work…

Charles "Teenie" Harris, Long line of protesters walking during snowfall carrying placards that read, "We Protest Kutchman's Appointment", with Kay's Furniture and Areford Brother's Real Estate, street no. 62 in background, c. 1950–1965, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Heinz Family Fund

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Long line of protesters walking during snowfall carrying placards that read, “We Protest Kutchman’s Appointment”, with Kay’s Furniture and Areford Brother’s Real Estate, street no. 62 in background, c. 1950–1965, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Heinz Family Fund

Charles "Teenie" Harris, Car, Michigan license plate, with front smashed in, on street during snow storm, 1963, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Heinz Family Fund

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Car, Michigan license plate, with front smashed in, on street during snow storm, 1963, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Heinz Family Fund

…but also provided subjects for photographs…

Charles "Teenie" Harris, Woman wearing earrings, light colored scarf, coat, and dark heeled boots, standing with hands in pockets on snowy lawn looking down into hole or well with stone walls, c. 1961, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Heinz Family Fund

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Woman wearing earrings, light colored scarf, coat, and dark heeled boots, standing with hands in pockets on snowy lawn looking down into hole or well with stone walls, c. 1961, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Heinz Family Fund

Charles "Teenie" Harris, Portrait of Elaine Coles wearing light colored coat and dark gloves, holding snowball, and squatting in snowy yard with light colored brick house in background, February 1958, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Heinz Family Fund

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Portrait of Elaine Coles wearing light colored coat and dark gloves, holding snowball, and squatting in snowy yard with light colored brick house in background, February 1958, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Heinz Family Fund. This one ran in the Pittsburgh Courier on February 15, 1958, with the caption: “Um-m-m-m Valentine! – Pretty Elaine Coles… a fine Valentine Day choice (or a ‘fox in snow’), smiles for the Courier photographer despite February’s icy blasts. Too bad the weather forced Miss Coles to snuggle in her winter coat. She has the figure to match her lovely face…”

Charles "Teenie" Harris, Man, possibly Brother Pharaoh, in Muslim dress posed barefoot in the snow, 1955-1975, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Heinz Family Fund

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Man, possibly Brother Pharaoh, in Muslim dress posed barefoot in the snow, 1955-1975, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Heinz Family Fund

Charles "Teenie" Harris, Car covered in snow and ice parked in front of row houses at 2325 Centre Avenue, Hill District, c. 1959, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Heinz Family Fund

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Car covered in snow and ice parked in front of row houses at 2325 Centre Avenue, Hill District, c. 1959, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Heinz Family Fund

But though he didn’t like the stuff, it’s no surprise that Harris still managed to capture some joyous images of those who did:

Charles "Teenie" Harris, Child lying on sled, sliding down hill, with other children standing at top, with tall chain link fence on right, Watt Street, Hill District, c. 1946, black and white: Ansco Safety Film, Heinz Family Fund

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Child lying on sled, sliding down hill, with other children standing at top, with tall chain link fence on right, Watt Street, Hill District, c. 1946, black and white: Ansco Safety Film, Heinz Family Fund

Charles "Teenie" Harris, Young women throwing snowballs with one story building in background, c. 1940-1945, black and white: Agfa Safety Film, Heinz Family Fund

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Young women throwing snowballs with one story building in background, c. 1940-1945, black and white: Agfa Safety Film, Heinz Family Fund

Charles "Teenie" Harris, Two children jumping into snow in front of Bedford Dwellings, with truck parked in background inscribed "B. Portnoy's Market, groceries, meat, produce, 2232 Centre Ave.," Hill District, c. 1947, black and white: unknown safety film, Heinz Family Fund

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Two children jumping into snow in front of Bedford Dwellings, with truck parked in background inscribed “B. Portnoy’s Market, groceries, meat, produce, 2232 Centre Ave.,” Hill District, c. 1947, black and white: unknown safety film, Heinz Family Fund

Teenie Tuesday on Facebook


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Charles “Teenie” Harris self-portrait in Harris Studio, c. 1940, black and white: Agfa Safety Film; Heinz Family Fund

Don’t miss our new Facebook series, Teenie Tuesday! The Charles “Teenie” Harris Archive contains approximately 80,000 images taken by Harris throughout his stellar career. A richly detailed record of public personalities and everyday Pittsburghers, the Archive is considered one of the most important documentations of 20th-century African American life. Since 2003, the museum has scanned and cataloged nearly 60,000 images, many of which are available on our Collection Search page. Identification of this vast collection is ongoing and we are always interested in hearing your stories regarding a Teenie photograph. Through our Facebook posts, we will share what’s new with the Archive, related events, images that could use some help from the public identifying the subjects and locations, and remembrances of the people, places, and events that Teenie photographed.

Charles “Teenie” Harris (1908–1998) chronicled the life of African Americans and other Pittsburghers through his photographic work from 1936–1975 in the nationally preeminent Black newspaper The Pittsburgh Courier. He also freelanced for the Washington D.C. news picture magazine, Flash!, and maintained a portrait studio in the heart of Pittsburgh’s Hill District. Nicknamed “One Shot” because of his speed and precision capturing a moment in time, Teenie’s archive is a richly detailed record of the lives of international celebrities, sports figures, politicians, Civil Rights leaders, and local residents.

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Charles “Teenie” Harris in front of Flash circulation office, 2132 Centre Avenue, Hill District, c. 1937, gelatin silver print; Gift of the Estate of Charles “Teenie” Harris

These photos created a sense of pride, dignity and respect in the minority community. As his oldest child, Charles A. Harris, explained, “Dad’s lens offered an equal opportunity to all. Those who faced that lens had a feeling of being special. He was blessed with an uncanny instinct that brought out the emotions of those he photographed. His photographs are a testament to his artistry and his life.”

Have a question or information about a photo from the Archive? Get in touch.
Charlene Foggie Barnett, Teenie Harris Archive Assistant: foggie-barnettc@cmoa.org
Kerin Shellenbarger, Research Archivist, Teenie Harris Archive: shellenbargerk@cmoa.org

Want to order your own prints from the Teenie Harris Archive?
Photo orders may be directed to RequestAPrint online.

Need to license a Teenie Harris image for publication?
Visit Getty Images online.

—Charlene Foggie Barnett, Teenie Harris Archive Assistant & Oral History Coordinator

Free to the People


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The Art Lending Collection at Braddock Carnegie Library; Photo: Greenhouse Media

If you’re like me, by now you’re probably sick of all the heated art auction coverage, which makes it seem like contemporary art is out of reach for anybody but a zillionaire. (Just another way to suggest that art = elitist.) The perfect antidote is the Art Lending Collection at Braddock Carnegie Library, a joint initiative of the inspiring artist collective Transformazium and the Braddock Carnegie Library Association, and a complement to the 2013 Carnegie International. Right now, I have two wonderful works by International artists Lara Favaretto and Erika Verzutti in my home (see below). In fact, I’m in my second rotation of art from the ALC, having just returned a charming little work by Mladen Stilinović. All you need is an Allegheny County Library card, and you can take the works home for free for three weeks!

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Works from the Art Lending Collection; (L): Works by Lara Favaretto (wall) and Erika Verzutti (table); (R): Work by Mladen Stilinonvić

I’m lucky enough to work in a museum, so I get to see a lot of great art up close, but having art in your own home is a completely different experience, because it becomes embedded in your everyday life. And I have to admit it, I love touching the little pieces of Verzutti’s enigmatic sculpture—just because I can! The Art Lending Collection is a great place to hang out, too—good conversation and a lots to see, both art and books. I highly recommend it—just don’t take the sketch by Tezuka Architects, because I want to borrow it next.

Learn more about Braddock Carnegie Library.

Maureen Rolla, Director of Strategic Initiatives, Carnegie Museum of Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh, from a Bike


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“A city always contains more than any inhabitant can know, and a great city always makes the unknown and the possible spurs to the imagination.”—Rebecca Solnit, Wanderlust, A History of Walking

“Nice!”—Randy Gilson

The best way to see Pittsburgh is by bike. And the absolute best way to see Pittsburgh’s public art is also by bike, in a decently sized (chatty) group and led by the curators of the 2013 Carnegie International (Thanks Tina and Daniel!). Luckily BikePGH, the ride organizer, picked a beautiful Saturday in November to ride 18 miles through the city’s parks, along its riverfronts, and through several neighborhoods starting in Oakland and ending in Millvale. The group, comprised of BikePGH members, met at the Carnegie Museum of Art, next to Phyllida Barlow’s TIP.

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Our first stop was on the Carnegie Mellon University to see Mel Bochner’s (CMU alum) and Michael Van Valkenburgh’s Kraus Campo garden. The conceptual piece nestled between the University’s fine arts and business buildings incorporates text, architecture, and landscape architecture into an interactive experience.

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Learn more about Pittsburgh public art and venues at Pittsburgh Art Places.
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Descending through Schenley Park, across the Hot Metal Bridge and traveling downstream along the South Side Trail, the group arrived at The Workers, the Industrial Arts Cooperative’s tribute to Pittsburgh’s industrial pedigree.

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Downtown Pittsburgh was the site of our next two stops. Scott Burton’s Chairs for Six sit in the plaza of the BNY Mellon Center. Across town in the Cultural District, Katz Plaza hosts a collaboration featuring Louise Bourgeois, Daniel Urban Kiley, and Michael Graves.

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A quick trip over the Andy Warhol Bridge led the group into the central North Side neighborhood to Randyland, where we were met by the gregarious Randy Gilson. Gilson regaled the group with his background and artistic philosophy—“I don’t know how to paint, but I paint! Nice!”

The ride’s final destination was St. Nicholas Croatian Catholic Parish to view the Maxo Vanka murals. The murals extend far beyond the typical Roman Catholic iconography. A few years ago, I had read about the Vanka murals in David Byrne’s Bicycle Diaries: “More unusual for a church are the political and antiwar aspects of the murals that echo the crucifixion—widows mourn over a soldier in a coffin containing a bleeding corpse, and crosses cover the hillside behind them. Another wall depicts corrupt justice: a figure in a gas mask holds scales on which the gold outweighs bread. Clearly World War I had a big effect on Maxo.”

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As I said earlier, there is no better way to see a city and its public art than biking, and Pittsburgh is taking great strides in becoming a world-class biking community. Currently there are over 20 miles of riverfront trails along the Monongahela River, Allegheny River, and mighty Ohio River. Over the past several years, the city has added over 70 miles of on-street facilities that connect cyclists to the many vibrant business districts scattered throughout the city. With the development of BikePGH’s Better Bikeways Vision and the city’s MOVEPGH (transportation plan), cyclists can expect bigger and better toys within the next few years.

bikegifWith that said, 2014 is expected to be a watershed year for the city’s biking community as Pittsburgh launches a bike share system and hosts Pro Walk/Pro Bike 2014, one of the pre-eminent active transportation conferences in the world. The bike share system will introduce 500 rentable bicycles onto Pittsburgh’s streets, providing cheap, convenient, and fun transportation for short trips. Pro Walk/Pro Bike will bring over 1,000 active transportation advocates, engineers, architects, planners, elected officials, and vendors to Downtown Pittsburgh in September 2014.  It’s an amazing opportunity to showcase Pittsburgh’s improvements and learn from the global leaders in urban transportation design. Learn more about the Pro Walk/Pro Bike 2014 conference.

Stephen Patchan, Bicycle/Pedestrian Coordinator, City of Pittsburgh