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The Roaring Twenties

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THE ROARING TWENTIES
AN AGE OF JAZZ
By: Vinson Gill
Instructor: Dr. C.A. deGregory

“The Golden Twenties or the Roaring Twenties as the 1920’s has been known to be called; when everybody seemed to have had money to party. The nightmare of the Wall Street Crash of October 1929 was inconceivable right up until it happened. While looking backward in time, when we hear “The Roaring Twenties” we tend to think almost automatically: mobsters, flappers, the Charleston (dance), a nightlife that seemingly was the highlight of the day, and that is what Hollywood would have you believe. Actually Hollywood has its beginnings in the twenties and celebrated the culture. The new fad was a new music form called Jazz; a culture for a new generation, a passion for the young adult, a crossover appeal that rocked the urbanites of America and a passionate people who were not just fascinated by jazz but supported it.
Langston Hughes described jazz as, “The music from the trumpet at the Negroes lips is honey mixed with liquid fire.” At first the art form was not accepted by black intellectuals. Most blacks distanced themselves from a music that seems to draw white attention to black culture; criticized and called it folk art. Jazz was born in brothels, performed in speakeasies which were illegal, actually brought together music lovers of all races in some clubs. Jazz went from being played only in New Orleans to becoming a staple of the American airwaves, dance halls, and homes.
African Americans seeking to improve their situations began to migrate northward in the 1920s, bringing jazz and blues to northern cities such as New York and Chicago. With readily available record players and radio, a generation of Americans embraced this new music form as an expressive alternative to their parents' outdated tastes. Once found only in New Orleans, jazz discovered a broader audience and...

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