Colorized photo from 1941 Original title: Negro boys on Easter Morning Photographer: Russell Lee Location: 4733 S. Parkway (4733 Martin Luther King), Chicago, IL
A picture that became famous, probably because people identified the friendships they had in their own lives, but to many this image is called the "mystery photo", simply entitled, Negro boys on Easter Morning.
Russell Lee was a government photographer, his assignment was to photograph rural and poor people during the Great Depression. He photographed daily life as he saw it. And in this case he saw a group of boys together and placed them on some guy's car and shot this iconic photo.
Presumably they went to church, or were going to church. They may have been going to an Easter movie as well.
Over the years people really wanted to know who they were, what became of their lives, did they fight in the war?
Then one day in the 1990's, The person who just happened to be in this photo, the boy in the center in the blue jacket was at the dentist's office with his son. His name was Spencer Lee Readus, when he saw that image he ripped it out of the magazine it was in. When they shot that photo some 50 years ago, he never knew what became of it till this day. He then showed his son later on, said that a white photographer asked him and some other boys to post for a quick photo.
Then in 2008, Chicago radio WVON held a contest to identify the young men in the picture. The winner would receive a trip to Memphis. Readus's daughter Claudia, brought both that photo from the magazine and a yearbook with her father in it, and won that trip. But Spencer Lee didn't want to on the trip, as he was a private person.
Despite winning that contest, there was no record of the contest ever taking place. According to the research someone did, there was info about him at his funeral in 2013. He lived a good life, he went on to serve in the US Army during WW2, then built a career as a plaster foreman. He raised four children, was a devoted family man with a great worth ethic.
Over the years other children were identified but nothing to confirm if its accurate.
December 21st, 2021
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