Three people are seated in a row together, on the far left a person holds a writing utensil and some paper and is leaning in to look at the person in the middle who is sitting with their hands folded in their lap and looking at the camera, the person on the far right is also leaning in and looking at the person in the center and is holding up a microphone

Charles “Teenie” Harris; Mrs. Earsley Kincaid and Lee Doris holding WILY radio station microphone, posed on either side of former slave Sabre “Mother” Washington, in her home on Conemaugh Street, another version, 1954; Carnegie Museum of Art: Heinz Family Fund. ©️ Carnegie Museum of Art, Charles “Teenie” Harris Archive

Crash Course: Collecting African-American Oral Histories


Adults: $40 (Members: $32; Students: $20)

Be a memory keeper! Learn how to start collecting your family’s personal histories or those of a favorite community.

This course provides tools for collecting and organizing verbal and written information. Learn how to make sense of the materials or memories you may already have. Explore what questions are relevant when talking with family members and discover best practices for gathering and considering information from the past. Gain greater meaning for your own life and those of future generations. Each session will explore a different topic.

Session 1: Defining Scope and Understanding Challenges
Overview of the course with a presentation of a Teenie Harris oral history and overview of techniques.

Session 2: Using Primary Source Materials
How to “read” a photograph and accessing potential resources.

Session 3: Creating Oral Histories
Asking questions. Storytelling and narratives. Investigating genealogy and overcoming challenges.

Session 4: Using Oral Histories
Options for collecting, preserving, and future access.

Can’t Zoom in at the class times? Recordings of sessions will be made available to registrants within two weeks following each class.


Charlene Foggie-Barnett is the archive specialist for the Teenie Harris Archive. Working with approximately 80,000 images in the collection, she helps identify photos and interacts nationally with the African American community to collect IDs and record oral histories that result from the exhibitions. She also organizes outreach events, lectures, blogs, and tours. Foggie-Barnett is not only employed for the Teenie Harris Archive, she also personally knew and was photographed by him from infancy through her late twenties. Among other accolades, she was recently named one of "50 Women of Excellence" by the Pittsburgh Courier Newspaper, and one of "100 Pennsylvania African American Women of Influence" from Talk Magazine.

B. Bernetiae Reed is a genealogist, oral historian, documentarian, and social activist. From Fall 2017—Spring 2020, she worked at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as the Project Documentarian and Oral Historian for the Southern Historical Collection’s Community Driven Archives project funded by an Andrew W. Mellon grant. Additionally, she did research for the Community History Workshop at UNC-Chapel Hill documenting the history of the enslaved community associated with Rocky Mount Mills, its surrounding townships, and the Battle family who owned the mill (part of a project funded by an NHPRC grant). She has a Master of Library and Information Studies from UNC-Greensboro (2015). Prior to this, she worked as a Registered Nurse (mostly L&D) for over 30 years. She is a breast cancer survivor since 2000; a Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies at Monticello Fellow (2007); author of The Slave Families of Thomas Jefferson: A Pictorial Study Book with an Interpretation of his Farm Book in Genealogy Charts (2007); producer of two documentaries: Thomas Jefferson’s Slaves and We Teach Them to Think; and a social activist who has been active in the NAACP, Moral Monday Movement lead by Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, and the Poor People’s Campaign. She is passionate about genealogy and the preservation of African American history and heritage.

About Crash Course

Crash Course is an ongoing series of topic-specific art history courses hosted by Carnegie Museum of Art. Past courses have focused on artists' depictions of urban industry, Renaissance and Baroque art, and many others.