Harlem, Hollywood, Broadway:
African American Legends Photographed by Jack Mitchell


Chan Gallery


January 19 – July 26, 2020



Donna Summer, 1977, archival vintage exhibition print, 19 x 13 in.

Cicely Tyson, 1995, selenium toned vintage gelatin silver print, 20 x 16 in.


This exhibition features 36 hand-selected silver gelatin and color photographs of important African American artists and performers taken by Jack Mitchell over a career spanning five decades. Mitchell died in 2013 at age 88. His first cover photograph for a major magazine was of Haitian dancers for the May 1951 issue of Color Magazine. Exhibition highlights include singer-songwriter Harry Belafonte, singer Whitney Houston (in her first photo session with a professional photographer), dance company founder Alvin Ailey, writer Toni Morrison, singer Roberta Flack, soprano Leontyne Price, hip hop group Public Enemy, singer Donna Summer, actress Cicely Tyson, and actor Ben Vereen.



Lecture and Preview Party


Friday, January 17, 2020


Thank you to all that were able to come out for the lecture and preview party on January 27. Guests were able to enjoy a lecture by Craig Higherberger, the executive director of the Jack Mitchell Archives, and preview party of the new exhibit. The Museum welcomed Alabama A&M’s Jazz Ensemble and Chef Narvell provided refreshments. 

View WHNT News 19’s coverage of the event here.




Craig B. Highberger’s 2006 documentary “Jack Mitchell: My Life is Black and White” about the life and work of the master photographer Jack Mitchell (1925-2013) has screened and broadcast internationally. It was 2006 Best Documentary Film winner at the Daytona Beach Film Festival. Highberger worked with Jack Mitchell for nearly 14 years on his website and licensing his work. Mitchell left his archives to Highberger when he passed away at the age of 88 in 2013. Highberger is currently Executive Director of the Jack Mitchell Archives and lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

Highberger grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Andy Warhol’s hometown. As a teenager Craig was very aware of the Warhol scene in New York City, pop art, and underground film. In his teens in the late 1960’s he began making short films and when he was a senior in high school his Theatre Arts senior project film “Freed” won first prize the WQED PBS-TV 1971 Young Peoples Film Competition.

Highberger went to New York University, majoring in film and television. After college he moved to Rochester, Minnesota with his partner (and now husband) Dr. Andrew La Barbera, and began a three decade career in film and television production.

Craig Highberger’s first feature-length documentary “Superstar in a Housedress” about his friend Andy Warhol Superstar Jackie Curtis features photographs by Jack Mitchell, and is narrated by Lily Tomlin. It was released theatrically in 2004, screened at film festivals around the world, and won Best Documentary at the 2004 Toronto LGBT Film Festival. It was selected for the 2004 Smithsonian “Film as Art” showcase at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington DC. and has been broadcast internationally. In 2005 Penguin published his biography of Curtis, “Superstar in a Housedress.


Thank you, Sponsors!


Bobby Bradley and Charley Burruss

Minority Leader Anthony Daniels of the AL House of Representatives
Dianne and James Reynolds


Ina and Garrett Smith
Alabama A&M University
Leadership Empowerment Enterprise