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.) 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. January 1920: 18th 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. 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. 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 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 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. 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) 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 workingclass 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. 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. 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) 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 AfricanAmericans 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 Jazz was born in the early 20th 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.