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Southside Easter: 1941

        Happy Easter from Chicago, and from Shorpy.
April 1941. "Negro boys on Easter morning, Southside Chicago." Medium format acetate negative by Russell Lee for the Farm Security Administration. View full size.

        Happy Easter from Chicago, and from Shorpy.

April 1941. "Negro boys on Easter morning, Southside Chicago." Medium format acetate negative by Russell Lee for the Farm Security Administration. View full size.


On Shorpy:
Today’s Top 5

Previously on Shorpy…

The location is 47th Street and Grand Boulevard (later renamed South Parkway and now Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard). We are looking south.

On the left, with the folded awning, is the Savoy Ballroom.
Saturday Night: 1941
The Coasters: 1941

If we could pan farther left, we would see the Regal Theater directly across from the boys.
Showtime in Chicago: 1941
Philadelphia Story: 1941

I can't tie a tie either

Maybe it's the angle but it seems like the guy in the middle ties his ties like me -- the fat part shorter than the narrow part. Great photo.

Re: Button Anomaly

Double breasted jackets normally had a button on the inside (The young man's left) that buttoned into the buttonhole that you see, thus securing it in place.

Cool guys

For straight-ahead, steely-eyed cool, the guy in the middle wins hands down (beautiful new brogues, too), but for pure styling, the lad on the left takes the cake. He’s the only one with a pocket handkerchief, too.

1938 Pontiac

Those handsome young men are seated and standing on! Alfred P. Sloan's identification cues are in full swing, just like the music, with the chrome stripes identifying the Pontiac brand -- they would last through 1956 in one version or another. When there were two stripes, they were called suspenders. It's further indicated to be a six cylinder at the bottom of the grille.

Button anomaly

Take a look at the gent in the middle. On the right side of his jacket (his right), there seems to be both a button and a buttonhole. I can't see the other side, so I don't know if the buttoning is actually reversible.

Grow-in' clothing

For most of those guys the loose jackets and the cuffs on the trousers make their Sunday's best look to be set up for growth.

I would also bet that most of those trousers had some spare cloth in the rear seam.

Let-out-as-you-grow style. I had those when I was that age, and I'm not that old. But then, my parents were kind of conservative, too.

Can't do that with jeans, though.

And, dress maketh the man.

The times, they are a-changing.

Today, those boys would be told to keep six feet apart. Of course, they wouldn't be so nattily attired, but still. Easter 1941 was kind of the last hurrah for a whole generation of kids; depending on when Easter fell that year, the US would be at war in 8 or 9 months. They were too young to have served, but they might have had older brothers who did. They more than likely served in Korea a decade later.

Happy Easter, Shorpyites! I hope you had lots of chocolate, lots of ham, and most of all, I hope you remembered to keep them separate on the table.

Bronzeville Mystery Photo


I have the picture on my wall too. Second is Ansel Adams moonrise in San Hernandez. Which one is better. Both are brilliant. Pekka Finland.

Re. Buttoning custom

The younger boy's button configuration is the same as women's buttoning, because young kids didn't dress themselves. They had help. Just like women of high status were dressed by a servant back in the day. Anyway, I love the hip style of the kids in this great photo.

That lanyard thing

It's called a "wind trolley" -- keeps your hat from flying down the street if the wind knocks it off your head. Attaches to your lapel somehow. The other thing looks like a flower.

Love at first sight

I actually saw this picture at the Magic City Classic in Birmingham, Alabama in 2007. One of the vendors had it, but it was overpriced so I left it there. My husband bought it for me for Christmas that same year. I fell in love with "my boys" (as I call them) as soon as I laid eyes on them. I would love to know their background.

Buttoning custom

I noticed the two boys with the patterned suits (No. 2 & 4 from the left) have buttoned their jackets right to left. Did it simply matter less then as it should now but doesn't?

[There is no choice when it comes to suit-buttoning. It depends on how the suit is made -- whether the buttons are on the left or the right. - Dave]

Who are they?

I loved this picture for years. My grandmother has hung this pic on her wall till her death and she used to always preach to her grandsons, make this pic an inspiration in your life and she used to tell her granddaughters to find men of this example. I just want to know who these men are and what are they doing.

Southside Easter

I saw this in a photo gallery this past weekend. It was with an article called "WVON Bronzeville Mystery Photo," referencing a contest by a radio station to identify the boys. I don't remember everything it said, but seems like it mentioned there is only one of them still alive.

South Side Boys

I fell in love with this picture as soon as I saw it. I have it on my wall centered with a black and white of Miles Davis on one side and John Coltrane on the other (both back in the day) I would love nothing more than to find out who these boys are. Everytime someone comes into my home that is the first thing I am asked. If anyone has information relating to the identity of these boys who are now MEN, please forward to! Thanks!

Hat Preserver

I believe it was called a hat preserver. I've seen pictures of Edwardian gents wearing roughly the same thing. It's a lanyard to catch your hat if it's blown off, thus keeping it from getting filthy in the street.


The boy on the left, with the glasses: what is the wire that seems to be coming from his hat to his lapel, and what is that thing on his lapel?

Chicago Easter

I have this picture on my wall - and it tells a story of a million words, every time I look at this picture, I always have something different to say. It melts my heart, this picture is truly a classic, I love it ... my whole living room is focused around this pic. I wish I knew what happened to these boys.

Southside Boys, Chicago 1941

The boy in the center in Congressman Bobby Rush of Chicago.

[I don't think so. Bobby Rush was born in 1946, five years after this photo was taken. - Dave]


Great! You don't even see grown men these days with classic hats and these kids have snappy fedoras... love this shot.


The boy in the center is a rebel and a leader. His coat is unbuttoned, the small boys know how to behave. What a style. I have a copy of this picture in my wall.

love it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Got this picture for a steal framed (huge size, not sure of dimensions) for $30.00 in downtown Detroit at our farmer's market. I had walked by it monthes before and was sorry I didn't get it then. Now it is in my home...I call them "my boys".

I love it too

One year ago I was wisiting in Stockholm and I see this picture in Old Picture store in very big print and I was amazing! At last weekend I go to the same store again, just to see this photo again...I looked it very long time, thinking about these boys, the time...wau! It tells more than thousand words!

Peik Salonen/Finland

Love this

This is definitely a classic picture. Love it :-)

On my wall

This great picture is one of the most prominent on my wall right now!

Have these boys ever been recognized?

Does anyone know who these boys are and whatever happened to them?

It's my favorite

It's my favorite (Blue Thunder -Chicago)

That is a great pic

Wonderful ... the clothes, the car. Brilliant.

[I agree. There is definitely something to be said for dressing up. - Dave]

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