Posted on 03/17/2008

Photo taken on March  1, 1945

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A Famous Photographer and Sons

A Famous Photographer and Sons
Charles 'Teenie' Harris with his two sons, Ira Vann and Lionel Lee (eating ice cream).

Charles 'Teenie' Harris' (1908 - 1998), photographs are unsurpassed in the range of subjects they portray and for their ability to evoke the spirit of an era and to display the humanity of a people. Harris' 40-year career with the Pittsburgh Courier, one of the largest and most influential Black newspapers in the country, began as the nation emerged from the Depression and ended with the Civil Rights Movement. Numbering upwards of 80,000 images, this archive represents the largest single collection of photographic images of any Black community in the United States-or the world for that matter.

Harris' photographs have been extolled by The New York Times, exhibited in a number of venues, and made the subject of a recent book and several exhibitions. His photographs are now taking their place alongside those of such eminent photographers as James VanDerZee of New York City's Harlem. However, in its breadth and in its rich documentation of the life and community spirit of Black urban America, the Teenie Harris collection surpasses that of any other African American photographer. In the long run, his photographs may cause Pittsburgh's Hill District to join New York City's Harlem in forming our view of urban Black life from the 1930s to the 1960s.

'The Photographs of Charles 'Teenie' Harris by Stanley Crouch