Sunday, September 20, 2009

Easter, 1941, on the South Side

Here's another set of photos from the U.S. Farm Security Administration Photography program. These were all taken in April 1941 by Russell Lee. He was then on the South Side of Chicago, an area which included Bronzeville and the Black Belt which were primary destinations for poor rural blacks from the American south during the 1920s and succeeding decades. See Chicago: Destination for the Great Migration for a useful photo essay on this area.

All these photos come from the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. Captions are all from the photos themselves by FSA staff. Click image to view full size.

Lee covered all aspects of the community. He was able to gain access to apartments of the poor and well to do. He took street shots and shots within public spaces like churches, theaters, and saloons. Some of the best show the South Side's world renowned blues and dance bands in action.


{Old man who lives on South Side of Chicago, Illinois}


{Man-drawn carts are common on South Side of Chicago, Illinois}


{Man on South Side of Chicago, Illinois}


{People sitting on front porches in Negro section of Chicago, Illinois}


{Children of family on relief playing. Chicago, Illinois}


{Marbles is a favorite game on South Side of Chicago, Illinois}


{Marbles is a favorite game on South Side of Chicago, Illinois}


{Where the Negro and white sections on the South Side meet, the white and Negro children sometimes play together, Chicago, Illinois}


{"Storefront" Baptist church during services on Easter morning.}


{Girls waiting for Episcopal Church to end so they can see the processional, South Side of Chicago, Illinois}


{Boys waiting outside of Episcopal Church to see the processional.}


{Hall of second floor of building rented as rooming house. }


{House in Negro section of Chicago, Illinois}


{Dining room of Negro family which is on relief. Chicago, Illinois}


{Living room in home of well-to-do Negro. Chicago, Illinois}


{In front of the movie theater. Chicago, Illinois}


{Negro cabaret. Chicago, Illinois}


{Saturday night in barroom. Southside of Chicago, Illinois}


{Booth in Negro tavern on southside of Chicago, Illinois}


{Musicians at tavern on the southside of Chicago, Illinois}


{Musicians at tavern on the southside of Chicago, Illinois}


{Musicians at tavern on the southside of Chicago, Illinois}


{Musicians at tavern on the southside of Chicago, Illinois}


{Musicians at tavern on the southside of Chicago, Illinois}


{Customers at tavern on the southside of Chicago, Illinois}


{Customers at tavern on the southside of Chicago, Illinois}


{Customers at tavern on the southside of Chicago, Illinois}


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This portrait of Lee is by an unknown photographer.

{Portrait of Russell Lee, FSA (Farm Security Administration) photographer. Taken ca. 1942.}


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A personal note: In the summer of 1968 I trained as a VISTA volunteer with young men from Chicago's South Side. We served in a work camp run by the Hull House Association. This time spent with those guys was one of the best experiences of my life (more on this camp can be found here).

1 comment:

tstokley said...

My name is Ted Stokley and I work for a nonprofit print journal called MEMOIR (and). I saw a photo on your blog entitled "{People sitting on front porches in Negro section of Chicago, Illinois}" http://secondat.blogspot.com/2009/09/1941-on-south-side.html that I thought would go well in our upcoming Spring+Summer 2010 issue. I tried finding it on the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, but didn't have any luck. I was hoping you might be able to point me in the right direction.

Memoir (and) is available in print at over 700 stores in the US. If you’d like to learn more, please go to our website at www.memoirjournal.com

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Regards,
Ted Stokley
Memoir (and)
tstokley [at] memoirjournal com