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; Sacred Nile in 2021; 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. Higgens received a Lifetime Achievement Awards from The Silurian Press Club of NYC in 2022.