Mission Statement: National Opera House will restore and maintain the site of the National Negro Opera Company in order to teach culture through arts and music to the youth of the community.


William "Woogie" Harris' house, 7101 Apple Street in Homewood, c. 1950-1970

Source: Carnegie Museum of Art, Teenie Harris Archive

7101 Apple Street, May 2, 2007

Photo: Dan Holland


Set on a high terrace overlooking Homewood (the property is actually in the Lincoln-Lemington neighborhood, but Homewood West is across the street), this is a large (7,074 square feet), square Queen Anne house with a cross gable roof with four interior end chimneys and a round turret at the south corner. It sits on a large 38,856 square-foot lot, which has a steeply sloping hillside behind the house. The wrap-around porch rests on paired columns with stone bases and entrance steps at the center of the southwest façade. The windows are all double-hung sash replacement.


The house at 7101 Apple Street from its creation in 1894 till the death of Woogie Harris in 1967 housed some of the most influential and culturally significant African Americans in Pittsburgh and the U.S. It was the early home of Mary Cardwell Dawson's National Negro Opera Company, later serving as the home of Pittsburgh's local "Guild". It also served as apartment to famous African Americans who visited to the city and were not allowed to stay in other parts of the city. Though it has suffered deterioration in the long years since then it remains a monument to the accomplishments of the black community.

Ownership History

The property on which the house now stands originally belonged to a Samuel Chadwick, Dr. John A Wilson and his wife Sarah Wilson, who were from what was then called East Liberty Village. The property itself was in Collins Township (Now the Homewood/Lincoln-Larimer Neighborhoods) the 21st Ward. They sold the land to Andrew Woolslayer for $2,570 in 1865, and he sold it in 1868 for $3,500 to a John F. Wilharm. He and his wife Johanna M. Wilharm held on to the property for next 22 years until they finally sold it to George Shafer in 1890. Shafer and his wife Lizzie Shafer bought the land for $5,750, and is believed to have constructed the Queen Anne style home c.1894, on what was then called Spencer Street.

Shafer and his wife lived in the home until the early 20s, when he passed away. Mrs. Shafer inherited and sold the home to a partnership of three buyers in 1924. The three buyers, Flora M. Fornao, William Lampertdorfer, and Tillie E. Butler bought home and the 3 surrounding acres for $15,000. Around this time Spencer Street was renamed Apple Street as it is still known to this day. The 3 partners would own the home until the 1930s.

A major change came in the early the late 1920s to early 1930s when wealthy African Americans like Robert L. Vann and others began buying properties within the Homewood, which at the time was still mostly white neighborhood. Among these included William A. "Woogie" Harris, who bought the home in 1930 for $12,000. Harris, the older brother of the renowned Pittsburgh photographer Charles "Teenie" Harris, owned Crystal Barbershop on Wylie avenue in the Hill District. He and his partner Gus Greenlee had in the 1920s become the major figures in the numbers racket of the city. Harris used the barbershop on Wylie avenue as a front for this very lucrative business.

Woogie, along with his wife, Ada B., lived in the home during the more exciting years of the house, in contrast with its earlier "quiet" years. It was Harris who rented the upper floors to Mary Cardwell Dawson so that the National Negro Opera Company, which she founded in Pittsburgh in 1941, could rehearse. Mrs. Dawson had originally rehearsed in a building on Frankstown Ave. in East Liberty (since torn down) with the Cardwell Dawson Choir, before moving to Apple Street. Records inicate that Mrs. Dawson lived on 146 East 20th Street, in Homestead along with her husband Walter, the home they purchased after her return from college in Boston where they met. They didn't live ther every long, as Washington, D.C. became the new center of the NNOC after the couple moved there to a new home at 1037 Evarts Street, NE after Walter was offered a job in the city. Mrs. Dawson still maintained a local chapter in Pittsburgh after the move, and created other guilds in Baltimore, Chicago, Cleveland, Washington, New York, Detroit, and Red Bank, and Newark, New Jersey.

Accomplishments & Production History of the NNOC

The National Negro Opera Company was the first permanent African-American Opera company in the nation. The company began rehearsing on the third floor, eventually performing its first production "Aida" in October of 1941. The company engaged hundreds of members from the best symphonies orchestras such as Members of Philharmonic Orchestra New York, Pittsburgh Symphony, National Symphony, and others. The company always worked inter-racially, having engaged members from the best local symphonic orchestras regardless of race. In addition to producing Aida, it also produced major operas such as Faust, La Traviata, Verdi's Il Travatore, Bizet's Carmen, Robert Nathaniel Dett's The Ordering of Moses, and Clarence Cameron White's Ouanga.

The NNOC was incorporated in 1950 to help raise funds to continue. The company had a national presence performing in the following locations :

  • Pittsburgh - Syria Mosque
  • Chicago – Civic Opera House & Coliseum
  • Washington – Watergate
  • New York – 8th Street Theatre, Metropolitan Opera House, Madison Square Garden, Carnegie Hall, & Town Hall.
  • Washington, D.C.-Griffith Stadium (Washington Senators, formerly the Homestead Grays, where baseball club owner Clark Griffith granted use to the NNOC free of charge for nine straight years).

Praise for the NNOC

The popular media, both white and black, heaped praise upon the NNOC. The Pittsburgh Courier was enthusiastic about Mrs. Dawson saying "The enthusiastic applause accorded her here in the Carnegie Music Hall Wednesday was ample evidence that her efforts to arouse interest in and in support of the music of the masters have been appreciated. Our hat is off to Mary Cardwell Dawson. With the gesture goes our best wishes for many more successes and triumphs." (The Pittsburgh Courier, Saturday, February 28, 1948).

The Washington Afro-American also praised saying " 'The Ordering of Moses' by the Late Dr. Nathaniel Dett, with arrangements in a pageantry form by Mary Cardwell Dawson, founder of the National Negro Opera Company, given at Shiloh Baptist Church on Nov. 20, was a meritorious presentation." (The Washington Afro-American, November 28, 1950).

By the1950s, despite the accolades, the company was starting to feel financial strain. In a 1953 letter from Norman Reed of WWDC Radio in Washington, DC, he expresses doubt that Mrs. Vann, who was helping to raise money for the Foundation, could seek a donation from "Mr. Mellon." Mr. Reed writes to Mrs. Dawson, "I feel certain that Mr. Mellon would turn down any invitation that I might write to him, in behalf of the Foundation, and he might do the same so far as any letter from yourself, or other officers." He does, however, suggest that Mrs. Dawson approach Congressman Dawson, who "might be persuaded to write to Mr. Mellon."(Letter from Norman Reed, Program Director of WWDC Radio, Washington, DC, to Mrs. Mary Cardwell Dawson, December 9th, 1953. Part of the Mary Cardwell Dawson archives, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.)

Still, despite the financial difficulties, the company continued to win critical acclaim. A Pittsburgh Press article from 1954 notes, "These days it is difficult and expensive for smaller organizations to produce opera. The NNOC has to be complimented for its worthy aims. However, it had to cut many corners to keep within its modest budget. . . . Balancing these shortcomings was the enthusiasm that infused the principals, chorus, and dancers. They performed with a zest that won the audience's approval." (Ralph Lewando, "Negro Opera Produces 'Aida'", Pittsburgh Press, October 11, 1954. . Part of the Mary Cardwell Dawson archives, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.)

The New York Times praised the NNOC saying, "Miss Dawson, artistic direction of the event (the opera Ouanga), prepared the rousing choir herself. Her determination has been useful to the Negro in the operatic field. Now other doors are opening. But only a few thus far. Miss Dawson's foundation still has work to do." (The New York Times, Monday, May 28, 1956.)

Decline of the NNOC

Despite the high profile performances, however, the National Negro Opera Company began to hemorrhage cash and had begun to have trouble attracting donors to its Foundation. Archival information from the Mary Cardwell Dawson archives at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh shows that, even though high profile Pittsburghers were listed as "honorary" members of the National Negro Opera Foundation, Inc., such as Mrs. Clifford Heinz, Mrs. Jesse Vann (wife of Pittsburgh Courier founder and publisher, Robert L. Vann), and Mrs. Daisy Lampkin, the organization was having trouble raising the necessary supporting funds to continue its vast and expensive productions.

By the early 1960s, the finances of the National Negro Opera Company had not improved. In a 1961 letter from the Chicago Negro Opera Guild after a reception there noted that "the expenses were great." It continues: "The amount of $1,402.71 that was taken, we have only $303.92 left. This of course is a little surprising to the committee and will be difficult to explain to the public, who are probably under the impression that we cleared a larger sum from the reception." (Letter from the Chicago Negro Opera Guild, to Mary Cardwell Dawson, March 20, 1961. Part of the Mary Cardwell Dawson archives, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh). Dawson's death on March 19, 1962 of stroke, also foreshadowed the folding off the NNOC a few months after.

New Life for the House

Woogie Harris had, in 1958, begun to rent out the house to well-known black and Latino figures such as Roberto Clemente of the Pittsburgh Pirates, singer Lena Horne, and Pittsburgh Steelers Roy Jefferson, John Nesby, and Marvin Woodson. Since they were restricted from rooming in hotels or apartments in other parts of the city they stayed in the house.

Harris who still owned the home eventually died in 1967, leaving the house to his wife Ada B. She passed away in 1975 caused the house to be sent to orphans court and eventually bought by a Marion E. Slator. Vicki Battles, a niece of Harris, inherited the property after Mrs. Slator's death in 1988. The market value of the home around this time being $34,592.50, almost three times its worth when Harris originally purchased it in 1930.

First PHMC marker dedication, Sept. 25, 1994.

First Historical Marker Dedication, 1994

A historical marker was placed at the site on September 25, 1994, thanks to Mrs. Peggy Pierce Freeman, who was an officer in the company, and Patricia Pugh Mitchell of the Heinz History Center (Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania). Dozens of people attended the dedication ceremony, led by the Westinghouse High School marching band and remarks from elected officials and dignitaries, such as Frank Bolden. Both Mrs. Freeman (in 2006) and Mr. Bolden (in 2003) have since passed away.

Mrs. Battles property was sold to the Bank of New York. The building would be neglected and start to deteriorate until its purchase by Jonnet Solomon and Miriam White in 2000. They have founded an organization, The National Negro Opera Co., to fund the restoration of the home as well as a mission statement "to restore and maintain the National Negro Opera House in order to teach culture through arts and music to the youth of the community. When restored, The Opera House will keep the dream started by Madame Mary Caldwell Dawson alive. The house will be the hub of a community based performance group intended to build self-esteem and teach discipline. All activities provided will be designed to develop and nurture a new generation of leaders. We intend to preserve the invaluable history of the musicians that have provided a legacy on the Opera House, Pittsburgh and the world."

Installation of new replacement PHMC marker, May 2, 2007.

Photo: Dan Holland

Second Historical Marker Dedication, 2007

The PHMC historical marker stood until winter 2007, when it was ripped down in a car accident. The Young Preservationists Association of Pittsburgh stepped in to apply for a replacement marker. The marker was replaced on May 2, 2007, and a re-dedication ceremony was held on May 3, 2007. Approximately 75 people attended, including a number of elected officials, historians, PHMC officials, and other dignitaries. Selections sung by the National Negro Opera Company were sung by the Renaissance City Women's Choir.

Marker re-dedication, May 3, 2007.

Photo: Rachael Kelley


The National Negro Opera House is significant due to two key figures: Woogie Harris and Mary Cardwell Dawson. They both had a profound influence and effect on the Black Community Mrs. Dawson's being on a National level, and Woogie Harris's being more on a local neighborhood as well as on a city level but both important to the social development of Pittsburgh's black community.

Mary Cardwell Dawson (undated photo)

Source: Barbara Edwards Lee

Mary Lucinda Cardwell Dawson (February 13, 1894-March 19, 1962) the eldest daughter of James and Elizabeth Cardwell, was originally from Meridian, North Carolina. The Cardwell family moved to Munhall most likely in the 1910s, during the Great Migration, settling at 146 East 20th Street, a house that still stands today (and is currently still owned by Mary Cardwell Dawson's niece, Barbara Edwards Lee). The local church and piano lessons at home developed her love for singing as well as music. After graduating from High School, she entered the New England Conservatory of Music, one of the nation's most prestigious musical colleges in Boston.

Madame Dawson was introduced to Mr. Walter ("Uncle Bob") Dawson in Boston by Jester Hairston, the author of "Amen," among other songs (according to Wikipedia, Hairston dubbed "Amen" for Sidney Poitier in "Lillies of the Field"). Hairston lived in Homestead and was a roommate of Walter Dawson in Boston at Wentworth Institute of Technology (Hairston went to Tufts). Madame Dawson was in Boston attending the New England Conservatory of Music at the time (the University of Pittsburgh refused to accept African Americans).

After graduating Mrs. Dawson first went to the Chicago Musical College and a studio school operated by the Metropolitan Opera Company of New York to further her studies. She married her husband, Walter M. Dawson on June 24, 1927. Madame Dawson eventually returned to Pittsburgh and became active in the musical life of Pittsburgh in the late 1920s and 1930s.

The Dawsons first lived on Frankstown Avenue in East Liberty in a structure that has since been demolished, with Mr. Dawson's electrical repair shop occupying the building's street level and Mary Cardwell Dawson's School of music occupying the second floor. Mrs. Dawson also began to direct a number of black choirs that sang classical pieces, her brother Harold and sister Catherine also performed in the choir. In 1931 she organized a local National Association of Negro Musicians in Pittsburgh, holding meetings at her school. She also directed a huge ensemble of 500 singers, The Cardwell Dawson Choir, who won national awards in 1935 and 1937, and then went on to perform at the 1939 New York World's Fair.

In 1938, Mrs. Dawson was elected president of the National Association of Negro Musicians (NANM), the nation's most prominent organization of African-American musicians. It was around this time that a national scandal occurred, in which Marian Anderson was refused permission to sing in Constitution Hall by the current manager in 1939. Sol Hurok, Anderson's Manager, had tried to rent Washington DC's Constitutional Hall and was told there were no dates available but when a rival manager asked he was told that there were openings. The hall's director told Hurok that "No Negro will ever appear in this hall while I am manager."

The raw public outraged, protest of famous musicians, and resignation of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt from the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), who owned the hall, forced the Hall to not only allow Mrs. Anderson to sing within it but also to desegregate the seats. This is when Mrs. Dawson realized that opportunities for black performers in the world of white opera production were few. It was after receiving public acclaim for her production of Verdi's "Aida," at the 1941 annual meeting of the NANM, that she was convinced that African-American singers needed a company that would provide them with the opportunities they were deprived of by segregation.

Founding of the National Negro Opera Company

It was at the property on Frankstown Avenue that Mary Cardwell Dawson started the National Negro Opera Company in 1941 as the first black opera company in the nation, according to a 2007 interview with her niece, Barbara Edwards Lee (Mrs. Lee also served as National Secretary for the Company). During that same year, needing additional space, Madame Dawson began to rent the house on Apple Street from William A. "Woogie" Harris, who was a big numbers man in Pittsburgh. According to Mrs. Lee, Madame Dawson and Walter Dawson lived at the house on Apple Street, as well as ran the Madame Mary Cardwell Dawson School of Music from their house.

The National Negro Opera Company (NNOC) began its illustrious career in Pittsburgh. On August 29, 1941, the company gave its first performance, Verdi's Aida at Pittsburgh's Syria Mosque. The production costing an equivalent of $100,000 by today's standards and featuring several prominent soloists including Diva La Julia Rhea as the title role, along with the Cardwell Dawson Choir, and other local musicians and choir members from many of Pittsburgh's black churches.

The company immediately won critical rave reviews. "[W]e have rarely heard so impressive a chorus in all [our] opera experience," wrote the music critic for the Pittsburgh Sun-Telegram. The Pittsburgh Courier's P.L. Prattis tells us that "Tickets at the door did not pay for all of this. Donations from all over the land helped to pay. We must continue to pay. You must see and hear this opera. It is a stunning retort to your critics."

The Dawsons lived at the house on Apple Street for two years and moved out in 1943. Mr. Dawson earned recognition as a master electrician during the construction of Aliquippa Terrace 1 and 2 (one of the nation's first public housing projects in Pittsburgh's Hill District) and was recruited to Washington, DC to work for the government. However, Mrs. Lee says that the government didn't realize Mr. Dawson was black, and, once meeting him, relegated him to cleaning fans and doing other demeaning tasks. He filed an EEOC lawsuit (one of the first at the time) and either settled out of court or dropped the suit (Mrs. Lee wasn't clear how it was resolved).

Interestingly, it was around this same time that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt had recruited Robert L. Vann, founder and publisher of the Pittsburgh Courier, to DC to be an assistant to the Attorney General (Vann was largely responsible for turning the black vote away from Republicans in support of Democrats during the Great Depression--the statement, "turn Lincoln's portrait to the wall," is attributed to Vann). It's possible that Vann may have been involved in Walter Dawson's suit in some way, but it's just speculation.

The Dawsons' move to Washington, DC, was by no means the end of the company's presence in Pittsburgh. It not only supported a local guild in Pittsburgh but also in Baltimore, Chicago, Cleveland, Washington, New York, Detroit, and Red Bank and Newark, New Jersey. For the next twenty years, Mrs. Dawson worked tirelessly to promote African-American participation in and appreciation of opera. She would make frequent return trips to Pittsburgh for fundraising missions or to produce operas staged at the Syria Mosque.

Founding of the National Negro Opera Foundation

In 1950, the National Negro Opera Foundation (NNOF) was incorporated to help raise funds to sustain the NNOC. The company produced major operas including: Faust, La Traviata, as well as black composer Robert Nathaniel Dett's The Ordering of Moses which was performed in Pittsburgh in 1946, and was performed more often than any other work, Clarence Cameron White's (another black composer) Ouanga, which was performed at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York, becoming the first black opera company there. In 1955 internationally renowned contralto Marian Anderson had became the first African American to sing at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. Shortly thereafter, one of Mary Cardwell Dawson's protégés, Robert McFerrin, Sr., (father of contemporary musician Bobby McFerrin) became the first permanent African-American member of the Metropolitan cast.

This was both a blessing and a curse as more black opera performers followed suit performing with white opera companies after color bar was broken. This forced the NNOC to cut back on its productions due to this lack of performers and dwindling support from the black community. The NNOC managed to remain active through 1961, still struggling to pay the expenses it incurred, the Dawson's often paying the bills out of their own pockets. A fatal heart attack Dawson suffered in Washington, D.C. in 1962 spelled the end of the NNOC. Without an endowment, major government support, or private sponsors, the National Negro Opera Company folded soon afterwards.

Postscript on Barbara Edwards Lee

While in Washington, DC, Dawsons lived at 1037 Evarts Street, NE, at least until Madame Dawson's death in 1962. Barbara Lee lived in Pittsburgh until 1948, when she graduated from Allderdice High School. But instead of facing rejection from the white establishment in searching for a job, she moved to DC to live with the Dawsons and began a close working relationship with Madame Dawson as the National Secretary for the National Negro Opera Company. Mrs. Lee acted as the spokesperson and press agent for Madame Dawson, and traveled to all of the cities where the NNOC performed. Mrs. Lee also sang in some of the performances.

According to Mrs. Lee, Immediately following Madame Dawson's death, while her house was still in legal limbo over ownership (Mr. Dawson had died shortly thereafter), people apparently would just walk into her house and take things from her closets, including clothes, photographs, and other documents. Some of these same people wore Madame Dawson's hats to her funeral in the ultimate sign of disrespect. Fortunately, Mrs. Lee stepped in to stop the "raping" of this famous woman's house and did manage to recover many of the archives which are now in three places: the Library of Congress, the Heinz History Center, and the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. Mrs. Lee still has some files and a few photos, but the bulk of her collection is stored in the archives.

History of Willam A. "Woogie" Harris

William A. Harris (1896-1967) who owned the house from the 1930's till his death in 1967, was also an influential figure in Pittsburgh. With his partner Gus Greenlee, they started the rackets in Pittsburgh in the 1920s, and by 1930 it was a large numbers business.

The daily number was tied to the closing number of stocks of the New York Stock Exchange. The numbers game was played when a person chose a three digit number, if the number chosen matched the predetermined number for the day, the player won. The organizations that ran the number racket paid players on 500 to 1 odds. Therefore if a person bet a dime they could win up to fifty dollars.

The numbers brought revenue into the community that was much needed at the time. In an interview with Charles "Teenie" Harris, brother of "Woogie" Harris, Ralph Lemuel Hill reports that Dick Gafney brought numbers to Pittsburgh from New York. It was initially strictly African-American. Dick Gafney gave the business to Gus Greenlee, who then brought in Woogie Harris. By 1925, Woogie Harris was running a profitable numbers empire that eventually employed up to 4,000 people and was based at the Crystal Barber Shop in the Hill District.

William "Woogie" Harris wearing cap standing on street, c. 1945-60

Source: Carnegie Museum of Art, Teenie Harris Archive

Teenie Harris (Woogie's little brother, and famed photographer) served as a numbers runner. Initially he started by picking up approximately $1.75 a day in numbers from McKees Rocks. Within six months the daily amount had jumped to as much as $400 a day. The numbers importance especially seen during the Great Depression, one penny could win $7. Winnings were used to pay for rent, groceries and other necessities, but losses could be devastating.

Gus Greenlee and Woogie Harris were known for their largesse and there are stories they gave people money for rent and/or for food. Because banks would not loan money to African-Americans, Gus and Woogie loaned money so lawyers and doctors could open up offices. The numbers writers also supported political campaigns, civic events, African-American boxers and sports teams. The numbers also financed Greenlee Field, the first black owned field (which has since been torn down).

It was 1941 when he began to rent the house to Mary Cardwell Dawson and her newly founded National Negro Opera Company. He would later in the 1950s begin to rent the rooms to such names as Roberto Clemente of the Pittsburgh Pirates, singer Lena Horne, and Pittsburgh Steelers Roy Jefferson, John Nesby, and Marvin Woodson, who spent time in the house because they were restricted from rooming in hotels or apartments in other parts of the city.

The numbers game folded in Pittsburgh for two reasons. The first occurred when many of the organizers were caught having invaded income tax. The federal government closed down many of the lucrative "business" men. The second happened when a large number of people chose the number 805. Since that was the predetermined number for the day, the organizers had to pay people off. This caused many of the big men to go broke, or lose enough money they had to retire. Woogie Harris himself left the public spotlight living quietly with his wife, until 1967 when he passed away.

Little else is known about Mr. Harris or how he came to know Mary Cardwell Dawson. It was not clear how a numbers man got connected with a coordinator of religious opera. It is likely that he developed a number of connections with prominent African Americans through his numbers business. Photographic evidence from the Teenie Harris Archive at the Carnegie Museum of Art suggests that Woogie Harris was seen in photographs which featured such nationally prominent African American historical figures as Joe Louis, Sugar Ray Robinson, Billy Eckstein, Lena Horne and Cab Calloway.

From left to right, Geraldine or Philistine Bobo, William "Woogie" Harris, Cab Calloway, John Henry Lewis, and Joe Louis in tuxedos, c. 1940

Source: Carnegie Museum of Art, Teenie Harris Archive

Connie Harris, William Harris, III, Ada Harris, William "Woogie" Harris with baby, Marion Harris Hall, George Hall, Sr. in front of 7604 Mulford Street, c. 1942

Source: Carnegie Museum of Art, Teenie Harris Archive

Exterior view of William "Woogie" Harris' Crystal Barber Shop and Billiard Parlor, c. 1930-1950

Source: Carnegie Museum of Art, Teenie Harris Archive


This house represents the cultural sophistication of African Americans and the influence of Pittsburgh's black community on the nation in the performing arts, as well as the company's role in binding the black community of Pittsburgh. It is important to not the significance of the house and need for the preservation efforts that Mrs. Solomon and Mrs. White have begun. Consideration must be given to Woogie Harris and the wealth he used for the benefit of the community as well as Mrs. Dawson and her Choir's many awards. Even the company she created that ended up helping to bring down the color barriers in the performing arts, as well as establish a generation of talented black & white performers. To lose this home would be a devastating blow not only to the black community but to every community within the Pittsburgh area.


Allegheny County Real Estate (website) Assessment Info.,

Allegheny County Recorder of Deeds, for research relating to property ownership of 7101 Apple Street.

Archives of Mary Cardwell Dawson, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Main Branch, Oakland.

The Birmingham/Pittsburgh Traveler. "The Numbers," northbysouth.kenyon.edu/2000/baseball/Numbers.htm, visited Friday June 30, 2007.

Eliza Smith Brown, Daniel Holland, Laurence A. Glasco, Ronald C. Carlisle, Arthur B. Fox, Diane C. DeNardo, African American Historic Sites Survey of Allegheny County, 1760-1960, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 1994, pp. 159-160.

Carnegie Museum of Art. Teenie Harris Chronology (A Part of Teenie Harris Collection), www.cmoa.org/teenie/bio.shtm, visited Friday June 30, 2007.

Marylynne Pitz, "1920 to 1939: From Speakeasies to Harlem Nights" Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, April 18, 2004, http://www.nlbpa.com/greenlee_gus.html. visited Monday, July 2, 2007

Michael A. Fuoco, "Return to glory: Hill District determined to regain lost greatness," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Sunday April 11, 1999, http://www.post-gazette.com/newslinks/19990411hilldistrict1.asp, visited Monday, July 2, 2007.

Guides to Special Collections in the Music Division of the Library of Congress, hdl.loc.gov/loc.music/eadmus.mu2005.wp.0031, visited Friday June 30, 2007.

Interview with Barbara Edwards Lee, niece of Mary Cardwell Dawson, conducted by Dan Holland and Noel Jenkins, July 17, 2007, West Mifflin, Pa. (recorded in digital video format).

Diana Nelson Jones. "An irrepressible voice: Mary Cardwell Dawson launched generations of classically trained Pittsburghers when she founded the National Negro Opera Co. here in 1941" Pittsburgh Post Geazette. Sunday August 1, 1999, http://www.postgazette.com/magazine/19990801opera1.asp. visited Wednesday, July 4, 2007.

The National Opera House website, www.nationaloperahouse.org, visited Friday June 30, 2007.

Eric Ledell Smith, Associate Historian, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission "Mary Cardwell Dawson: Black Opera Pioneer," a speech at the Rededication of the Pennsylvania state historical marker commemorating the National Negro Company, Pittsburgh, May 3, 2007.

Joe William Trotter, Jr. and Eric Ledell Smith, Ed., African Americans in Pennsylvania: Shifting Historical Perspectives, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission and The Pennsylvania State University Press, 1997.


Restoration of the National Opera House will be conducted in three phases as follows :

Phase One Phase Two Phase Three
Roof (Shingles)
Porch (Wood)
Windows (Divided Light)
Heating (forced Air)
PYSO (Program)
Exterior Painting
Interior Painting

Tea Room


The time line for the start and completion of each of these phases is still in progress.