It was great seeing the development of the Teenie Harris Center in the Hill District by the New Pittsburgh Courier in the Nov. 8 issue. Too bad he couldn’t have gotten some of that while he was living.
I worked with Teenie when I first joined the Courier and there wasn’t a nicer guy. Teenie loved people, he loved living and he always tried to do what was right toward other people, yet he died broke.
It’s a shame that we as Black people don’t support our own, or don’t see the value in our work. Teenie was an icon as he worked as the chief photographer for the Pittsburgh Courier and the New Pittsburgh Courier, capturing the Black struggles and successes through film in black and white.
Yet, very few people acknowledged his work until after he sold most of it for $300. Later it was purchased by a historical foundation and put on display for all of Pittsburgh to see.
After working for the New Pittsburgh Courier off and on for 30-something years, I hope Real Times Media or somebody realizes that Teenie couldn’t have done it without the Courier. The Courier was established in 1910 by Edward N. Harleston, expanded into the largest Black-owned and operated newspaper in the country as well as the largest Black-owned and operated business in the country by Robert L. Vann until his death in1940, and lifted onto even greater heights by his wife Jesse Vann until 1962, until she sold it to S.B. Fuller in 1962.
John Sengstacke purchased it in 1966 and renamed it the New Pittsburgh Courier. After Sengstacke’s death in 1997 there was a court battle that eventually led to Real Times Inc. purchasing the paper in 2003.