Modernism & The Harlem Renaissance 1910-1940


What is modern? Americans in the first half of the 20th century consciously moved away from the traditions of their past and embraced all things modern.

Can ideals survive catastrophe? The years between 1910 and 1940 were scarred by 2 historical events: WW1 and Great Depression.

How can people honor their heritage? The writers of the Harlem Renaissance were quite diverse stylistically, yet the shared a pride in their heritage that shines through their work

What drives human behavior? Newly familiar with Sigmund Freud's groundbreaking work in human psychology .

Time Events

In 1932, Franklin Delano Roosevelt pledged to give the country a "New Deal"

The 1920, was the first decade to be significantly shaped by Mass Media.

By 1933, the unemployment rate had grown to 25 percent. Unable to pay their bills, thousands of people lost their homes and million went hungry.

Major Events

The Jazz Era: Some Americans, Disillusioned with the traditional values that had led to war, sought escape in the pleasures of entertainment and good times. People were able to spend more money on good and leisure activities. They experimented with new fashion and new attitudes, actively seeking out fun and freedom.

The new era for women: finally gave women the right to vote. New fashion and urban attitudes of the day. American women were earning wages in the workplace.

Great Depression: Many banks failed, businesses floundered, and workers lost their jobs. Huge dust storms arose, damaging farms.


Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald: was an American novelist and short story writer, whose works illustrate the Jazz Age. He finished four novels: This Side of Paradise, The Beautiful and Damned, The Great Gatsby, and Tender Is the Night.

Edna St. Vincent Millay: was an American poet and playwright. She was the third woman to win the award for poetry. She wrote "A Few Figs from thistles."

John Ernst Steinbeck: was an American author of 27 books, including 16 novels, six non-fiction books, and five collections of short stories. One of his novellas is "Of Mice and Men"


Created with images by Marvin_irl - "Jazz cats"

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