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St 7.2

Cultural Responses to the 1920s

Adam Powley

on 15 March 2012

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Transcript of St 7.2

Langston Hughes
The Great Migration
Post-WWI African American migration to northern cities
The southern African Americans brought their culture with them.
African Americans settled together in segregated neighborhoods
Harlem Renaissance
segregated neighborhoods allowed the migrant African Americans some freedom
this freedom and comfort allows African Americans to explore the various cultural items that have come together
Cultural items
Palmer Hayden (American, 1890-1973), Nous Quatre a Paris (We Four in Paris),
Palmer Hayden, Jeunesse, no date
I, Too, Sing America
I, Too, Sing America
by Langston Hughes

I, too, sing America.

I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.

I'll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody'll dare
Say to me,
"Eat in the kitchen,"

They'll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed--

I, too, am America.
The Downside of the Harlem Renaissance
While it pointed brought recognition to black artists and musicians it further pointed out second class citizenship
White (especially young) people came into Harlem and participated took in the culture but the opposite could not happen
For example, Elvis took essentially African American music and modified it for a white audience.
These new artists celebrated African cultural traditions and black pride
Begin to question the 2nd class citizenship of African Americans
Other Cultural Movements of the 1920s
Pre-WWI mentality believed in "Progress", that things were getting better.
To some extent, this is present in the materialism of the 1920s
Some members of society reject the idea that European / American ideals and morals were all that civilized
They also reject the materialism that characterized the 1920s
They called the flappers and speakeasy customers shallow
The group of authors known as "The Lost Generation" most forcefully questioned American Values
Ernest Hemingway
Excerpt from A Farewell to Arms

If people bring so much courage to this world the world has to kill them to break them, so of course it kills them. The world breaks every one and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry.

--Ernest Hemingway
•The Sun Also Rises (1926)
•A Farewell to Arms (1929)
•To Have and Have Not(1937)
•For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940)
•The Old Man and the Sea (1952)
HL Mencken
F. Scott Fitzgerald
journalist and author
most known for Scopes Trial Coverage
"Oh, it isn't that I mind the glittering caste system," admitted Amory. "I like having a bunch of hot cats on top, but gosh, Kerry, I've got to be one of them."

"But just now, Amory, you're only a sweaty bourgeois."

Amory lay for a moment without speaking.

"I won't be--long," he said finally. "But I hate to get anywhere by working for it. I'll show the marks, don't you know."
Georgia O'Keeffe
like these Hudson River Valley School Paintings
replaced by Expressionism
Mass Media helps spread these new trends to a national audience
The radio helps jazz reach white audiences
also helps messages spread to a national audience quickly (think twitter of 1920)
Movies also spread national messages
major themes were
racism (seen here in "Birth of a Nation")
National media also led to national advertising
this led to national consumer culture
also helped lead to a national resurgence of the KKK (along with movie)
Standard 7.2 Cultural Responses of the 1920s
Artistic Transitions

A Sunday school is a prison in which children do penance for the evil conscience of their parents.
Democracy is also a form of worship. It is the worship of Jackals by Jackasses.
Full transcript