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Black History Month - African Americans and the Arts: Photography

This guide is dedicated to exploring the Black History Month theme of 2024, "African American and the Arts."

Photography With John White

Who is John White?

One of Central Piedmont’s most famous graduates is photographer John H. White, Class of 1966. While at Central Piedmont, he studied commercial arts and obtained his Associates in Arts degree with a focus on photography and photojournalism. Upon graduation, he obtained employment with local Charlotte news outlets as a photojournalist until the early 1970s upon moving to Chicago for greater opportunities with the Chicago Daily News, the Chicago Sun-Times, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

For his work on the DOCUMERICA project he received the Pulitzer Prize in 1982. It was the first prize ever awarded for a collection of photographs; he is also the first community college graduate to have received the Pulitzer Prize.

To celebrate this momentous achievement, Central Piedmont President, Dr. Richard Hagemeyer, and head of Public Relations, Mike Meyers, invited John White and his family to the campus on June 11, 1982, where he was honored with the Richard Hagemeyer Educational Advancement Award. Following the ceremony, there was a photography class and workshop for the public to attend, as well as a John White Day celebration and reception held at North Carolina National Bank (NCNB) in Uptown Charlotte.

Throughout his illustrious career, John White has documented the lives of Popes, Presidents, and the Public through his camera lens. He currently teaches photography courses at the University of Chicago, where students of all ages can continue to learn and follow his motto "Keep in Flight."

From the Archives

The Central Piedmont Archives has a biographical file on John White as well as a few photographs he donated to the Archives. Their digital collections also include two videos:

You can also explore his DOCUMERICA collection through the U.S. National Archive's Flickr Album.

A studio portrait taken by the CPCC Media Production Department of John White holding his camera.

John White and his son.

John White and Mike Myers at an event honoring Mr. White and his family, where Mr. Myers presented him with the Hagemeyer Award.