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Chester Higgins, Jr.

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Information about Chester Higgins, Jr.

Profile image of Chester Higgins, Jr.

Profession

Category:
MediaMakers
Occupation(s):
Photojournalist

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue, Red
Favorite Food:
Pie (Blackberry)
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall, Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Africa
Favorite Quote:
Everyday above ground is a good day.

Birthplace

Born:
11/6/1946
Birth Location:
Fairhope, Alabama

Profession

Category:
MediaMakers
Occupation(s):
Photojournalist

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue, Red
Favorite Food:
Pie (Blackberry)
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall, Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Africa
Favorite Quote:
Everyday above ground is a good day.

Birthplace

Born:
11/6/1946
Birth Location:
Fairhope
See how Chester Higgins, Jr. is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Photographer and author Chester Higgins, Jr. was born in Fairhope, Alabama. Higgins’s years attending Tuskegee University in the late 1960s served as his inspiration to pursue a career in photography; during this time, he saw the work of photographer P.H. Polk, a man who would become his first mentor. Polk’s images powerfully impacted the viewer because of the way that they showed the dignity of African American life in the rural South during the 1930s. Hall’s photography, combined with Higgins acquiring his first camera just in time to bear witness to student unrest on the Tuskegee campus, provided the budding photographer with a strong motivation to document the African American experience in the United States as he saw it unfolding around him. Higgins would compile the work Student Unrest at Tuskegee Institute in 1968 about the events that he saw taking place on campus.

Higgins graduated in 1970 from Tuskegee University, and soon after moved to New York City to begin his professional career; his first assignment was to follow and document the political activities of Jesse Jackson, then a young civil rights activist. In 1975, Higgins began his work as a photographer for the New York Times, an association that would continue throughout his professional career. Over the years, Higgins’s photographs were also published in Look, Life, Time, Newsweek, Fortune, Ebony, Essence and Black Enterprise magazines.

In addition to his photojournalistic achievements, Higgins published several collections of his photography, including: Black Woman in 1970; Feeling the Spirit: Searching the World for the People of Africa in 1994; the Elder Grace: The Nobility of Aging in 2000; and Echo of the Spirit: A Photographer’s Journey in 2004. Higgins’s work was featured in a variety of solo exhibits, including the traveling exhibition Landscapes of the Soul, which toured nationally at locations such as the Smithsonian Institution, and the Museum for African Art in New York City. Selections of Higgins’s photography were acquired for the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Higgins has been the recipient of grants from the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the International Center of Photography, the National Endowment for the Arts, the American Revolution Bicentennial Commission, and the Andy Warhol Foundation, to carry out his work.

See how Chester Higgins, Jr. is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Chester Higgins, Jr.'s interview session 1, pt. 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Slating of Chester Higgins, Jr.'s interview session 1, pt. 2
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Chester Higgins, Jr. lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Chester Higgins, Jr. shares a lesson he learned from artist Romare Bearden
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Chester Higgins, Jr. describes his mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Chester Higgins, Jr. describes his maternal ancestry
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Chester Higgins, Jr. describes Fairhope, Alabama and how his parents met
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Chester Higgins, Jr. describes his step-grandfather's school in New Brockton, Alabama
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Chester Higgins, Jr. describes his stepfather's family background
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Chester Higgins, Jr. describes his step-grandfather, Warren Smith
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Chester Higgins, Jr. describes his step-grandmother's family
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Chester Higgins, Jr. recounts what inspired his interest in photography
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Chester Higgins describes his photographs of his aunt and uncle
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Chester Higgins, Jr. explains his great uncle's name
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Chester Higgins, Jr. describes his earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Chester Higgins, Jr. recalls picking cotton as a child
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Chester Higgins, Jr. recalls working in cotton and peanut fields
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Chester Higgins recalls his elementary school experiences
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Chester Higgins, Jr. talks about the anthem 'Lift Every Voice and Sing'
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Chester Higgins, Jr. recalls special childhood events
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Chester Higgins describes responses to segregation in the South
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Chester Higgins, Jr. describes race relations in his childhood community
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Chester Higgins describes a community leader from his childhood, Mr. Bernest Brooks
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Chester Higgins, Jr. describes community leaders in New Brockton, Alabama
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Chester Higgins, Jr. describes his call to ministry, pt. 1
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Chester Higgins, Jr. describes his call to ministry and Bible study with his step-grandfather
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Chester Higgins, Jr. recounts becoming a minister at age ten
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Chester Higgins, Jr. reflects upon being a minister as a child
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Chester Higgins, Jr. shares his spiritual philosophy, pt. 1
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Chester Higgins, Jr. shares his spiritual philosophy, pt. 2
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Chester Higgins, Jr. describes writing his sermons
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Chester Higgins, Jr. talks about politics within African American churches
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Chester Higgins, Jr. describes the function of religion in modern society
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Chester Higgins, Jr. describes Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s political and religious influence
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Chester Higgins, Jr. describes his grandfather and Warren Smith High School
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Chester Higgins, Jr. narrates his photographs, pt. 1
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Chester Higgins, Jr. narrates his photographs, pt. 1
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Slating of Chester Higgins, Jr.'s interview, session 2
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Chester Higgins, Jr. recounts meeting his mentor, P.H. Polk, pt.1
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Chester Higgins, Jr. recounts meeting his mentor, P.H. Polk, pt. 2
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Chester Higgins, Jr. recalls his photography lessons with P.H. Polk
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Chester Higgins, Jr. describes his first camera
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Chester Higgins, Jr. recalls his internship at Harvard Student Agencies in Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Chester Higgins, Jr. describes his research project at Harvard Student Agencies in Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Chester Higgins describes his academic experiences at Tuskegee Institute
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Chester Higgins, Jr. recalls participating in student protests in Montgomery, Alabama
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Chester Higgins, Jr. talks about the art of storytelling with photography
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Chester Higgins, Jr. recalls documenting student protests at Tuskegee Institute
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Chester Higgins, Jr. remembers his mentors in college
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Chester Higgins, Jr. talks about publishing his early photography and photographing women
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Chester Higgins, Jr. describes his experiences as a photographer in New York City
  • Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Chester Higgins, Jr. recounts meeting Arthur Rothstein of Look magazine
  • Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Chester Higgins, Jr. recalls learning photography techniques from Arthur Rothstein
  • Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Chester Higgins, Jr. recounts meeting his editor, Orde Coombs
  • Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Chester Higgins describes his book 'Black Woman'
  • Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Chester Higgins describes his book, 'Drums of Life'
  • Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Chester Higgins, Jr. describes his book 'Some Time Ago'
  • Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Chester Higgins, Jr. recalls meeting Romare Bearden
  • Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Chester Higgins, Jr. describes his process for photographing people
  • Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Chester Higgins, Jr. remembers his friendship with Romare Bearden
  • Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Chester Higgins, Jr. remembers Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, and Al Murray
  • Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Chester Higgins recalls meeting fellow photographers in New York City
  • Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Chester Higgins, Jr. describes Cornell Capa
  • Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Chester Higgins, Jr. talks about his commitment to his craft, pt. 1
  • Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Chester Higgins, Jr. talks about his commitment to his craft, pt. 2
  • Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Chester Higgins, Jr. recalls his hiring as a photographer for the New York Times
  • Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Chester Higgins, Jr. explains his aim of portraying people positively in his photography
  • Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Chester Higgins, Jr. recounts the lectures he gives at high schools
  • Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Chester Higgins, Jr. talks about the African diaspora
  • Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Chester Higgins, Jr. talks about African religions, pt. 1
  • Tape: 9 Story: 9 - Chester Higgins, Jr. talks about African religions, pt. 2
  • Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Chester Higgins, Jr. talks about African religions, pt. 3
  • Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Chester Higgins, Jr. describes his book 'Elder Grace: The Nobility of Aging,' pt. 1
  • Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Chester Higgins, Jr. describes his book 'Elder Grace: The Nobility of Aging,' pt. 2
  • Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Chester Higgins, Jr. recalls the gallery exhibition for 'Elder Grace: The Nobility of Aging'
  • Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Chester Higgins, Jr. reflects upon his legacy
  • Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Chester Higgins, Jr. describes his hopes for the African American community
  • Tape: 10 Story: 7 - Chester Higgins, Jr. explains why he does not talk about works in progress
  • Tape: 10 Story: 8 - Chester Higgins reflects upon being interviewed by The HistoryMakers