Mapping the Teenie Harris Archive: Photography, Community, and Pittsburgh's Black Built Environment


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Innovation Fellowships


History of Art and Architecture


This project uses the photographic archive of Charles “Teenie” Harris, 1908-1998, to chart a Black geography of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. From the 1930s-1980s, Harris chronicled the lives of Black communities in Pittsburgh as a studio photographer and photojournalist for the Black newspaper, “The Pittsburgh Courier.” This dissertation provides an interactive, web-based map of photographs from the Teenie Harris Archive. This new modality highlights the spatial framework underlying Harris’s photographs of twentieth-century social phenomena such as racial segregation, urban renewal, displacement, and resistance. The lingering impacts of these inequities persist today in the form of gentrification, and collaboration with local community members enables this project to recover histories of Pittsburgh’s Black built environment that have been systemically erased from modern-day maps.