The Charles “Teenie” Harris Archive is one of the most detailed and intimate records of the black urban experience known today. Opening July 29 at Carnegie Museum of Art, Charles “Teenie” Harris Photographs: In Their Own Voice pairs 25 of Harris’s photographs with the voices of people who lived them.
Guest curator Dr. Ben Houston spent several years gathering oral histories revolving around the African American experience in Pittsburgh, producing more than 150 recorded interviews. His research yields an incredible wealth of stories from Pittsburghers like Sala Udin, Alma Speed-Fox, Dr. Vernell Lillie, and Eric Springer. For the exhibition, Houston’s selections from the Charles “Teenie” Harris Archive, and from his own oral histories, creates a rich conversation on community and identity during the civil rights movement in Pittsburgh.
Visitors may access the audio tracks through the Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History iOS App, which is free to download on The App Store. Or, borrow a pre-loaded device for free of charge at the nearby admissions desk.
Add Your Voice
The Charles “Teenie” Harris Archive continues to collect oral histories, and invites you to add your voice. How do the images in the exhibition shape your understanding of the civil rights era? Do you have information or stories related to Teenie and his subjects that should be recorded and preserved? Respond by calling us at the number posted in the exhibition.
The oral histories in this exhibition were collected from 2006 to 2009 for the Remembering African American Pittsburgh project at Carnegie Mellon University, led by Dr. Ben Houston. The project was developed by the university’s Center for African American and Urban Studies and the Economy (CAUSE) under the guidance of Dr. Joe Trotter, professor of history and social justice. Funding for the project was provided by Nancy and Milton Washington, the Falk Foundation, BNY Mellon, Office of Global Philanthropy, and the Giant Eagle Corporation.
About the Curator
Dr. Ben Houston is Senior Lecturer in Modern US History at Newcastle University, England. He is author of The Nashville Way: Racial Etiquette and the Struggle for Social Justice in a Southern City, and is currently editing a book about the African American experience in Pittsburgh based upon the compiled oral histories.
About the Charles “Teenie” Harris Archive
Charles “Teenie” Harris (1908–1998) photographed Pittsburgh’s African American community from ca. 1935 to ca. 1975. His archive of more than 70,000 images is one of the most detailed and intimate records of the Black experience known today. Purchased by Carnegie Museum of Art in 2001, the Charles “Teenie” Harris Archive was established to preserve Harris’s important photographic work for future generations. Thanks to the generous support of the National Endowment for the Humanities, Carnegie Museum of Art has digitized more than 70,000 of Harris’s negatives, and the collection is available to browse online.
Browse the Archive →