1920/20 Vision by Rachel davis

The 1920's had a vision, paving the way for the future generations by morphing things and ideologies into something new. Defying cultural norms, and proving to be more than just another year. This was a time of change.

Women gained their right to vote by the 19th amendment in the year 1920. Although accepted, many didn't like what it meant. According to an article published before the amendment in New York by the National Association Opposed to Women's Suffrage, this led to a reverberation of changes that went against the current cultural norms. It meant that children might not be raised the same, the house wouldn't be properly taken care of, and men and women may switch roles. This also led to women known as flappers, those who smoked or did unladylike like things. They also showed more of their necks, their legs, and cut their hair.

"It is the Suffragist theory that woman's sphere in life should be the same as the man's. Is it not clear how this hideous feminism is sapping our vitality as a nation?" --Anti-Suffrage Newspaper Article, NY

Women's suffrage, as diverse as it sounds, could be seen as a return to normalcy, or not changing much at all. Women are just getting the right to vote, and things like wages still didn't change. It was denounced by many, and seen at this time as something wrong. Going against roles just wasn't done. Yet, so were many things before they took off. And now women can take on any role they want, and they can wear pants without feeling rebellious! Most people today seen men and women equally, and this wouldn't have taken off without a law allowing some equality, such as the 19th amendment.

Another event in the 1920's that took place was the Harlem Renaissance. This was where black culture started to develop, flourish, and be accepted by many races instead of just their own. People who were artists and musicians were open about their passions. The genre mostly being jazz or rhythm and blues. One popular musician like this during this time was Louis Armstrong, who was a famous jazz musician who played instruments from the cornet to the trumpet. Then there were other artists who rose out of the dust too and became known as well. Such as Duke Ellington, who had an overall career lasting for 50 years!

"Scent of Magnolias, sweet and fresh, Then the sudden smell of burning flesh." --Strange Fruit by Billie Holiday.

Although a glorious time of pursuing dreams, you could also say it was a flee for survival. In the south, away from Harlem, people weren't as accepting. The KKK was still at large, and lynching black citizens. Jim Crow laws were still in effect, and an overall disrespect was still openly displayed in the south. This is why people could say that not much changed. But if this prosperity didn't exist, if things weren't beginning to get better, people like Louis Armstrong would never tell us what a wonderful world it is. His voice wouldn't be heard, and his instruments would never be played for the public. In the 1920's, there were many things African Americans were doing for the first time ever. I wouldn't call this uneventful or stagnant. This is definitely a time of change.

Another world-shifting event that happened in the 1920's, was the idea of teaching evolution in school. Of course, as we are looking at a very traditional America, this did not go over well. It indeed led to the Scope's Trial, a battle of evolution or creationism. It sparked a lot of controversy, and a lot of hard questions. Is teaching this abandoning the church ideologies? Is this giving the next generations the tools they need to progress? Should we actually let them choose? And eventually, that's the decision that is made. As for at the time, Scopes was fined for being found guilty against the Butler Act.

"Make the distinction between religion and science. Let them have both. Let them both be taught. Let them both live." --Dudley Field Malone (NY attorney defending Scopes.)

As ground breaking and defying to the traditions this can all be put away as a simple ripple in the ocean of time. Yes, the Scopes trial did not win, and evolution did not plant itself in textbooks across America, but it did plant ideas for the America to come. Like most things in the 1920's, this idea was too big to contain for long. Now, we see evolution in our science books. Openly discussed in class still as a theory but one to be looked at. It is not brushed away from the children's sight. And therefore, the Scopes trial did not live on very far in the 20's, but it did reign down eventually. Trend setters came as flappers and ideas that were seen as unspeakable. These things are what changed us to be how we are now, and I believe it can proudly be decreed that the 1920's was indeed a time of blooming, flowering change. Slowly, but surely.

I feel this cartoon directly corresponds to the trial and the attitude towards it. Don't talk about introducing evolution, because it is seen as evil. "See no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil." Don't bring up evolution in school, we don't want our kids to believe it to the point where they denounce the Bible and it's teachings.


Created with images by dok1 - "Car Trouble" • simpleinsomnia - "Two 1920's girls in the photo booth" • Graffiti Photographic - "Cassandra Wilson" • wwarby - "Black-capped Squirrel Monkey"

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