PITTSBURGH, PA.- Carnegie Museum of Art announced the award of a $300,000 challenge grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. When matched, the museum will use the funds to endow the position of archivist for the Teenie Harris Archive. The archivist will spearhead research and public access initiatives related to this important repository of African American culture. Carnegie Museum of Art has established a steering committee—led by community leaders and long-time supporters Judy Davenport, Cecile Springer, and Nancy Washington—to help raise the required 3-to-1 matching funds.
Endowing the archivist position will enable the museum to continue its commitment to the archive, and to the legacy of one of Pittsburgh’s—and the nation’s—great photographers. A freelancer and photographer for the influential Pittsburgh Courier newspaper, Charles “Teenie” Harris produced more than 80,000 images of Pittsburgh’s African American community. The photographs, taken from the 1930s to the 1970s, capture a period of momentous change for black Americans, and depict a black urban community that, in spite of segregationist policies and attitudes of mid-century America, was innovative, thriving, and proud. The museum acquired these negatives in 2001 from the Harris estate, and established the Teenie Harris Archive soon afterward.