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Prompt: Discuss the cultural changes that occurred in the 1920s. (e.g. Harlem Renaissance - writers/ performers/ musicians, jazz, Prohibition- organized.

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Presentation on theme: "Prompt: Discuss the cultural changes that occurred in the 1920s. (e.g. Harlem Renaissance - writers/ performers/ musicians, jazz, Prohibition- organized."— Presentation transcript:

1 Prompt: Discuss the cultural changes that occurred in the 1920s. (e.g. Harlem Renaissance - writers/ performers/ musicians, jazz, Prohibition- organized crime/ Al Capone/ speakeasies/ bootleggers, flappers, sports, cinema, radio, etc.)

2  Between 1922 and 1929, migration to cities accelerated with nearly 2 million people leaving farms each year.  America was once dominated by a small towns and farms bound together by conservative moral values and close social relationships  But as migration to cities increased, small-town attitudes began to lose their hold on the American mindset.

3  January 1920: 18 th Amendment went into effect.  This amendment launched the era known as Prohibition, during which the manufacture, sale, and transportation of alcoholic beverages were legally prohibited  Reformers had long considered liquor a prime cause of corruption.  Support for Prohibition came largely from the rural South and West, the church affiliated Anti-Saloon League, and the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union.

4  At first, saloons closed and arrests for drunkenness declined. However, after World War I many Americans were tired of making sacrifices and wanted to enjoy life.  Drinking was part of the culture of many immigrant groups.  To obtain liquor illegally, drinkers went underground to hidden saloons and nightclubs known as speakeasies- so called because when inside, one spoke quietly, or “easily” to avoid detection.  People also bought liquor from bootleggers, people who carried liquor in the legs of boots and smuggled it in from Canada, Cuba, and the West Indies.

5  Prohibition encouraged disrespect for the law as well as contributed to organized crime.  Chicago became notorious as the home of Al Capone, a gangster whose bootlegging empire netted over $60 million a year. Capone took control of the Chicago liquor business by using bribes and killing off his competition.  Headlines in the 1920s reported 522 bloody gang killings and made the image of flashy Al Capone a part of the folklore of the period.  Went to jail for tax evasion…uhh

6  A new ideal emerged for some women in the 20s: the flapper, an emancipated young woman who embraced the new fashions and urban attitudes of the day  Women start shedding tradition roles in the home and work  New opportunities emerge

7  The most powerful communications medium to merge in the 20s was the radio  By the end of the decade, the radio networks had created something new in the United States- the shared national experience of hearing the news as it happened  Americans could hear the voice of their President or the World Series live for example.

8  In 1929, Americans spent $4.5 billion on entertainment  One form of entertainment was attending athletic stadiums to see sports stars who were glorified as superheroes by the mass media  Examples: Babe Ruth (baseball) Helen Wills (tennis) Andrew “Rube” Foster (baseball) Gertude Ederle (swimming)

9  Small production companies soon combined to form giant industries that produced hundreds of films, making movies rival sports, music, and reading as the top-grossing forms of American entertainment  Both middle-class and working- class Americans sought leisure in theaters for 10-75 cents per picture.  Americans saw the cinema as a way to escape the tragedies of the post-war recession and worshipped movie stars and modeled their personal lives after onscreen heroes.

10  Like many other urban neighborhoods, Harlem suffered from overcrowding, unemployment, and poverty.  But its problems in the 1920s were eclipsed by a flowering of creativity called the Harlem Renaissance, a literary and artistic movement celebrating African-American culture.

11  The H.R. was above all a literary movement led by well-educated, middle-class African Americans who expressed a new pride in the African-American experience.  They celebrated their heritage and wrote with defiance about the trials of being black in a white world  Alain Locke published The New Negro, a landmark collection of literary works by many promising young African American writers  Other examples: Claude McKay (novelist/poet) Langston Hughes (movement’s best known poet) Zora Neale (novelist, author, poet)

12  African-Americans in the performing arts won large following.  Some thought that the H.R. movement was launched with Shuffle Along, a black musical comedy  Some songs and performances became popular even among white audiences  The spirit and talent of African- Americans was showcased for the first time on stages  Paul Robeson: became a major actor and appeared in Shakespeare’s Othello and was widely acclaimed  Like many African-Americans, however, he struggled with the racisms he experienced in the United States

13  Jazz was born in the early 20 th century in New Orleans, where musicians blended instrumental ragtime and vocal blues into an exuberant new sound.  Jazz quickly spread to cities such as Kansas City, Memphis, and New York City, and became the most popular music for dancing.  Examples of African-American artists: Famous for his astounding sense of rhythm and his ability to improvise, Louis Armstrong made personal expression a key part of jazz. Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington, a jazz pianist and composer, led his ten-piece orchestra at the Cotton Club Bessie Smith, a female blues singer, was perhaps the most outstanding vocalist of the decade, recorded on black-oriented labels and became the highest-paid black artist in the world.


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