D e c e m b e r 1929
Decade in Review
This decade has almost ended. But with the recent Wall Street Crash that occurred last October, people seem to feel like there is no reason to celebrate the end of the decade. They seem to have forgotten the importance of the 1920s and how much things have changed in only ten years. Maybe after a generation or two have passed, the importance of the events of the second decade of the nineteenth century will seem more significant. After all time and time again, history has shown us that there is no such thing as a dull decade. Every decade has its own conflicts, scandals, atrocities, cultural shifts, and historic events. However this decade has a quite disproportionate share of these things compared to previous decades. Perhaps this is why we, the authors of Witness Magazine, truly believe that the “twenties” will forever stand out in the annals of history. This was the decade that changed many things from the how woman dress to how people have fun. With the decade almost coming to an end, we the authors of Witness Magazine proudly present to you a very special commemorative issue that will “recap” and review some of the landmark events, court cases, influential people, scandals, and historical events of this decade. We hope this issue succeeds in reminding the American people of the special things that truly made this decade an unforgettable one. Perhaps in doing this we give everybody a reason to celebrate the impending end to this musical, magical, unique, and truly unforgettable decade that will forever be known as the “roaring twenties”. Sincerely, The Staff of Witness Magazine
Table of Contents News.............................3-5 Babe Ruth Interview.................6-7 Letters to the Editor............7-13 The Harlem Renaissance..............16-18 Decade in Review Section Begining......19 Timeline...........20 Editorials................................22-24, 26 Top Political Cartoons of the Decade Section......28 People of the Decade Awards................29-30 Advertisements...........................14, 15, 21, 25, 27
Financial Analysts Predict a Rough Economic Future
NEW YORK-The crash Estimated Drop of the Stock that came two months ago in Market October 1929 was catastrophic and has spurred economists and financial analysts to estimate the losses and predict what is held in store for the country in the coming year. Financial experts estimate that currently stockholders have already lost about $40 billion dollars in paper values. This is more than the total cost of World War I to the United States. The stock-market collapse will be causing many jobs to be lost. Financial experts have estimated that 4 million workers in the United States will be jobless by the end of next year. Financial experts also believe that many banks will soon collapse. They will carry down with them the life savings of millions of ordinary Americans. Ben Riddle, a New York based financial analyst says, “It is estimated that countless amounts of hard working Americans will soon lose their homes and farms to the foreclosure hammer. I can’t tell you exactly what the future holds for this country’s economy. But looking at the way things are right now, I can guarantee you that it’s not going to be pleasant”.
Police Make Breakthrough in St. Valentine’s Day Massacre Case St Joseph - The stagnated Saint Valentine’s Day massacre case has finally had a breakthrough. Berrien County sheriffs raided a bungalow of a man named Fredrick Dane in St. Joseph, Michigan. Officials raided this house and found that Dane was the registered owner of a vehicle driven by Fred “Killer” Burke. Burke, while intoxicated, rear ended another vehicle in front of a police station. A police officer by the name of Charles Skelly ran outside to investigate and was met with gunshots, shot by Burke. Officer Skelly died of his wounds a short time later. When police raided Dane’s bungalow, they found a bulletproof vest, bonds recently stolen from a Wisconsin bank, two Thompson submachine guns, pistols, two shotguns, and thousands of rounds of ammunition. Both machine guns have since been determined to have been used in the Saint Valentine’s Day massacre. The Saint Valentine’s Day massacre is the name given to the murder of seven people. These seven murders were expected to be related to the criminal activity of two Chicago base gangs responsible for selling illegal alcohol through bootlegging and smuggling. The massacre happened on St. Valentine’s Day February 14, 1929. It resulted in the death of seven victims. Burke is believed to be involved in the massacre as one of the shooters. The current whereabouts of Burke are unknown. Fredrick Dane on the other hand has been arrested and interrogated for his connection with Burke. An anonymous police reporter is told us, “I’m so happy that we finally made a breakthrough in this case. Usually these kind of stagnated cases never get solved. Unlike most other cases, The St. Valentine’s Day massacre is case that deserves and needs to be solved. It was a cold bloody example of what this country has come to in terms of organized crime. If we can solve this case and properly punish those responsible for the massacre, perhaps we can make an example and show others who would partake in organized crime the dire consequences.
Spirit of St. Louis Retired Washington D.C. - The Spirit of St. Louis has made its final flight from St. Louis to Bolling Field in Washington, D.C. The plane has been presented to the Smithsonian Institution where it will be presented for public display after being retired. The Spirit of St. Louis is a custom built single engine, single seat monoplane registered as Airplane number N-X-211. The plane was officially known as the Ryan NYP which stands for New York to Paris. The plane was designed by Donald A. Hall of the aircraft manufacturer Ryan Airlines located in San Diego, California. It was named The Spirit of St. Louis in honor of its famous pilot Lindbergh’s supporters in his then hometown of St. Louis, Missouri. The NYP was loosely based on Ryan Airline’s previous 1926 Ryan M-2 mailplane. The main differences between the two planes it that the Ryan NYP was designed to have 4,000 miles of range. The Spirit of St. Louis is famous for being flown solo by Charles Lindbergh in his historic flight from New York to Paris. This flight was the first solo, non-stop flight across the Atlantic Ocean and won Lindbergh $25,000 as well as international praise and adulation. Lindbergh’s prize winning flight made him an instant celebrity and media star. After completing his trip he said, “There were 200,000 people there in Paris that night. And when we came back home, there were 4 million people waiting”. His solitary flight brought planes to the public’s attention. The Spirit of St. Louis has since flown 174 flights in total. But for now it is retired and will no longer be flown. John Robertson, an American who was present in Paris when Lindbergh landed, when asked about this news said, “The Spirit of St. Louis made history. It will be missed dearly. But at least for now it will be put on display so everybody can see this small but profoundly important plane”.
5 Q ’s Babe Rut h
Q. Your known best as a slugger but you started your career as a pitcher in 1914 playing for the Red Sox. Why did you choose to be a pitcher instead of a batter? A. As soon as I first got out there I felt a strange relationship with the pitcher’s mound. It was as if I’d been born out there. Pitching just felt like the most natural thing in the world. Striking out batters was easy. That’s why I first started out as a pitcher. At first I only batted occasionally. But when I found out that I was good at it I started doing it more often Q. How many more home runs do you think you would have hit if you were not a pitcher for the first three years of your career? A. I can’t really say. I guess if I started batting early in my career I could’ve hit around at least a dozen more home runs.
Q. Do you have any advice to aspiring young sluggers? 5
A. How to hit home runs: I swing as hard as I can, and I try to swing right through the ball...The harder you grip the bat, the more you can swing it through the ball, and the farther the ball will go. I swing big, with everything I’ve got. I hit big or I miss big. I like to live as big as I can. 6
5 Q ’s Babe Rut h C ont i nued
Q. Prior to your arrival, the Yankees had never won a title of any kind. After joining the Yankees prior to the 1920 season, you helped the Yankees capture seven pennants and four World Series titles. Do you ever feel like you are mainly responsible for this remarkable change? A. The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime. So no, I don’t ever feel like I am the only one responsible for the team’s success. Q. Your nickname is the “sultan of swat”. You are well known for hitting record breaking numbers of home runs, but your overall batting average is only .342. Does this batting average ever bother you? A. I’m going to tell you one thing, don’t ever let the fear of striking out hold you back. If I’d just tried for them dinky singles I could’ve batted around .600.
Thanks Babe! 7
Letters to the Editor Dear Editor, I really appreciate last month’s article by Mr. Arnold praising Walter F. White for publishing earlier this year various books, including Rope and Faggot: A Biography of Judge Lynch, that analyze and bring to the public eye various factors behind lynching. It feels like a breath of fresh air to see a popular news magazine such as Witness Magazine publish a story praising a man like White who is fighting a fight that is so controversial and noble. Unfortunately, this is not entirely a letter of praise. Your article, “The Black and White Fighter”, contains what I believe to be a poor choice of words that threatens to undermine the truly dangerous nature of White’s work. The author in the article stated that White’s chosen focus in his books while remarkable isn’t a difficult topic to write about. The author claimed that lynching is an easy topic of choice for writers who want to stir up the public to advance their careers because the topic is so controversial and affects so many people. I do not know whether Mr. Arnold was referring to White or others like him, but either way I feel that he inadvertently undermined White’s work and his accomplishments. White, through his work, has shown a remarkable degree of courage. White, whose blond hair and blue eyes hides his black ancestry, was born in Atlanta, Georgia. He graduated from Atlanta University in 1916, established the Atlanta branch of the NAACP in 1917, and became assistant secretary for the NAACP’s national staff in 1918. Since early on in his career White has fought to eliminate racism in this country. Before 1918, he had already done so much to fight racism. Yet despite this, in 1918 he courageously began to go undercover and investigate lynching of African Americans in this country. I feel I must point out the danger that he faces in this line of work. In order to properly investigate lynching, White has to go to locations where racial prejudice is widespread and overt. White also disguise his African American ancestry in any way he can, otherwise he would face the risk of being lynched himself! White goes into what could be perceived as “enemy territory”, and risks his very life to be able to investigate and properly write about this topic. Unfortunately, White doesn’t just face the risk of being harmed by white people; he even faces the risks of being harmed by African Americans during his investigations. On many occasion White visited locations where racial riots were occurring. On many occasions African Americans mistook him for a white man and tried to harm him. In fact in one of his essays, White wrote, “The lynchings were not difficult to inquire into because of the fact already noted that those who perpetrated them were in nearly every instance simple-minded and easily fooled individuals. On but three occasions were suspicions aroused by my too definite questions or by informers who had seen me in other places.
These three times I found it rather desirable to disappear slightly in advance of reception committees imbued with the desire to make an addition to the lynching record. One other time the possession of a light skin and blue eyes (though I consider myself a colored man) almost cost me my life when (it was during the Chicago race riots in 1919) a Negro shot at me, thinking me to be a white man”. By no means should any profession that requires one to risk his life be considered to be “easy”. If this topic were so easy to write about, then why aren’t more reporters choosing to write about this topic from an objective point of view that does justice to this crime? And yes, lynching is indeed a crime, a crime that most reporters are too cowardly or prejudiced to fight. At least, White has the courage to reveal the true nature of this crime and how it is going unpunished. In another one of his essays he wrote about how he witnessed the lynching of a ten men and a pregnant black woman who was about to give birth. This was in a prosperous Georgian community filled with an obviously prejudiced white community. While a regular reporter would avoid stirring up any trouble by getting involved, White bravely ventured into the community and investigated the brutal lynching. In another one of his essays he wrote about saying this, “As I was born in Georgia and spent twenty years of my life there, my accent is sufficiently Southern to enable me to talk with Southerners and not arouse their suspicion that I am an outsider. (In the rural South hatred of Yankees is not much less than hatred of Negroes.) On the morning of my arrival in the town I casually dropped into the store of one of the general merchants who, I had been informed, had been one of the leaders of the mob. After making a small purchase I engaged the merchant in conversation. There was, at the time, no other customer in the store. We spoke of the weather, the possibility of good crops in the fall, the political situation, the latest news from the war in Europe. As his manner became more and more friendly I ventured to mention guardedly the recent lynchings. Instantly he became cautious ⎯ until I hinted that I had great admiration for the manly spirit the men of the town had exhibited. I mentioned the newspaper accounts I had read and confessed that I had never been so fortunate as to see a lynching. My words or tone seemed to disarm his suspicions. He offered me a box on which to sit, drew up another one for himself, and gave me a bottle of Coca-Cola. “You’ll pardon me, Mister,” he began, “for seeming suspicious but we have to be careful. In ordinary times we wouldn’t have anything to worry about, but with the war there’s been some talk of the Federal government looking into lynching. . It seems there’s some sort of law during wartime making it treason to lower the man power of the country. “In that case I don’t blame you for being careful,” I assured him. “But couldn’t the Federal government do something if it wanted to when a lynching takes place, even if no war is going on at the moment?” “Naw,” he said, confidently, proud of the opportunity of displaying his store of information to one who he assumed knew nothing whatever about the subject. “There’s no such law, in spite of all the agitation by a lot of fools who don’t know the niggers as we do. States’ rights won’t permit Congress to meddle in lynching in peace time.”
“But what about your State government ⎯ your Governor, your sheriff, your police officers?” “Humph! Them? We elected them to office, didn’t we? And the niggers, we’ve got them disfranchised, ain’t we? Sheriffs and police and Governors and prosecuting attorneys have got too much sense to mix in lynching-bees. If they do they know they might as well give up all idea of running for office any more ⎯ if something worse don’t happen to them ⎯” This last with a tightening of the lips and a hard look in the eyes”. After continuing his investigation, White was suspected by the community of being a Federal Agent of the Department of Justice. Later on in his essay he wrote, “…A Negro approached me and, with an air of great mystery, told me that he had just heard a group of white men discussing me and declaring that if I remained in the town overnight “something would happen” to me. The thought raced through my mind before I replied that it was hardly likely that, following so terrible a series of lynchings, a Negro would voluntarily approach a supposedly white man whom he did not know and deliver such a message. He had been sent, and no doubt the persons who sent him were white and for some reason did not dare tackle me themselves. Had they dared there would have been no warning in advance ⎯ simply an attack”. White’s article not only proves the courage that he needed to have to be able to do this kind of investigation, it also reveals to the public how lynching and racism is a crime that is continuing to go unpunished in the south. He wrote this article during a time of rising intolerance in not only the southern part of the country, but everywhere. More and more people are turning to racial intolerance these days. Despite this, White continues to fight the unpopular but ultimately good fight. He even received multiple death threats from the KKK from 1918 to 1925. The KKK, a white supremacist group that was reestablished in 1915, was estimated to be 4 million members strong in 1924. This organization opposes Catholics, blacks, Jews, immigrants, homosexuals, Asians, drug dealers, “loose women”, the Pope, and more. They believe that in order to be “American, a person must belong to a single race, a single religion, and a single political party. The KKK is responsible for thousands of beatings and killings. They ride through black neighborhoods flogging people and dumping them at garbage sties. They even tar and feather people white people supporting equality. While they lost much support in 1925 when their leader was charged with murder, they still exist today and are still a force to be worried about. Yet despite all this, White ignored the KKK’s death threats and published multiple books that reveal the information he got from his investigations. White’s work is remarkable. The degree of courage he showed during his investigations had won him my praise and adulation. He is writing about a topic and investigating in a way that puts his very life at risk. To call his work “easy” is simply wrong and unfair. I have read many of Mr. Arnold’s articles and usually he is very perceptive. However, in this instance he chose to use the wrong words. I implore him and Witness Magazine to do something to correct this mistake by retracting the last issue, writing an entirely new article, or by publishing this letter in the letter to the editors section of your next issue. Sincerely, Richard Thames 12939 Rockfell Blvd. New York, New York
Letters to the Editor Dear Editor, I read last week’s editorial by Ed Crane titled “The Reds” and felt the need to respond. Crane’s article was very one-sided. His article off-handedly dismissed the American public’s fear of Eastern Europeans and communism as hypocritical racism. However, I am responding because I thought readers might like to see an explanation of the American public’s fears given from somebody who understands the other side of the issue. America is the land of opportunity and we have accepted many immigrants from all walks of life into our nation. We give equal opportunity to all and encourage people to seek out the American dream. Everyone is equal. We are a generous people, but there are some who would seek to exploit our kindness. Communism began to infect our pure nature in the last decade, but through American ingenuity and strength we managed to cure that cancer before it spread. Communists surrounded us. They have infiltrated our cities, our towns and our jobs. We knew they were here when they began to use our own businesses against us. They began their labor unions claiming that they were doing so for the benefit of all American workers, but we as a nation saw through their ploy. We saw that the labor unions were comprised of immigrants, we saw the danger that the unions posed and we saw what we had to do to stop it. Initially we did very little to combat the communist plot. It wasn’t until they brought the fight to new level that we retaliated with force. In 1919 and 1920 a group of communist radicals, hell bent on destroying our political order and promoting their anarchist ways, delivered a series of bombs to the homes and offices of government officials nationwide. A bomb even went off on Wall Street, the symbolic capital of this nation and the values for which it stands for. In response to this, what were we to do? Ignore the fact that we are surrounded by communist and anarchist terrorists who will stop at nothing to destroy our political order? We were attacked! America has never taken an attack on its soil lightly. So consequently with good reason, we took action. The Government then organized an attack on the communist radicals called the Red Scare. Federal, state and local officials were charged to deport communists. These raids were successful in arresting 4,000- 10,000 radical and deporting over 600. Some communists managed to stick around by and disguised themselves as innocent groups with names like “social problems club”. Regardless, the raids were successful in removing the terrorist threat within the country. To prevent more terrorists from coming into this country, in 1921 the Johnson Act was passed and limited the immigration of immigrants to an annual amount of only 3% of the immigrants present in America in 1910. Finally we were eliminating the disease at its source. Later we increased our stranglehold on immigration with the 1924 National Origins Act which limited the annual immigration to 2% of the immigrants present in America in 1890. In the end, the act we passed and the actions we took suppressed the communists in America. Our strong actions and American spirit triumphed over the communist plot and today we enjoy a peaceful life in America free from the Anarchist threat. 11
I would like to point out that the American public has many reasons to fear communism and Eastern Europeans. When the Czar was overthrown by the Bolsheviks, they vowed to do everything they can to promote anarchy and create similar communists revolutions throughout the world. They included America in that goal. The communists want to start a revolution in America. They don’t care that most Americans are happy with capitalism. They don’t care about anything but their goal. However, we let the communists and Eastern Europeans live in peace. We looked at them with suspicion, but we let the live. That is until they attacked us. When they killed innocent Americans for the sake of anarchy they lost their right to be a part of this society. That is why they were treated the way they were and that is why Americans continue to fear them. It is not irrational. It is not hypocritical. Sincerely, John Doe 125 Charleston Road Chicago, Illionois
Dear Editor, As a Woman I must strongly disagree with the article “Languishing Women” in your last issue. In the issue, the author claimed that women have not been utilizing their political power with their right to vote in the past decade. The author expressed that women today care only about social life and their “image” and that they are running “wild”. He also questions the point of women being free to do such things. Unfortunately I cannot say that all of this is untrue, however not all woman have lost their political vigor and their respect for life. It is unjust to forget the women who greatly respect our position in this society. Yes, while there are some woman who would rather wear makeup, wear short fitted caps, drink, smoke, dance, wear short skirts, party, and completely ignore their right to vote, there are still many woman who are utilizing their right to vote. If you look at the numbers, the number of women who are voting is increasing. Also, if you look closely you will see that women do in fact have a political voice that is growing stronger by the day. I will admit that the majority of women do not seem to care about politics. But I believe there are reasons for this. One of the reasons for this is that women have only recently been empowered. If you think back ten years ago, women didn’t have the right to vote. So in the past ten years women have been discovering a new sense of freedom and empowerment. Some chose to use that freedom to wear shorter skirts and have more fun. I do not think there is anything wrong with that. And again, if you look at the numbers, it seems more and more women are voting because they are realizing the political potential they have.
I am normally very fond of your magazine, and I quite enjoy all the different views you have, but this has truly irked me. It was written with a very narrow lens and does not capture the whole image. We Women are still fighting to be treated equally. A job any man can do, we can do, and maybe even better sometimes. Not only that, for the same job a men does, we get paid less. It can be concluded that yes, we are becoming more independent and we are moving away from home to work, but this is a better life for us. Maybe not all women are using their freedom to change politics. But they are using their freedom to better their lives. In the future, there is little doubt in my mind that the vote of women will grow to be a solid political force that does change politics. It gives us opportunity to achieve and do great things alongside men. Please continue to publish work that is meaningful and not narrow in scope. Sincerely, Margaret Bonnie 2056 West Road Los Angeles, California
The Harlem Renaissance The New Negro Movement was an intellectual flourishing that created a new American and African American cultural identity in the 1920s. A teacher named Alain Lock described it as a “spiritual coming of age”. With racism ubiquitous and economic opportunities dwindling, creative expression flourished in an African community known as Harlem. This flourishing of cultural expression in Harlem lead to many things including the birth of jazz, the publishing of profound literature, and the writing of insightful plays as well as more. Some claim that this was simply a historic event, but I disagree. The cultural development in Harlem and the increased popularity of jazz music is more than just a historic event. It is a monumental trend that has come to become a symbol of this decade and of the potential of African Americans in this country. What happened in Harlem is not just a historic event. It is much more than that. What happened in Harlem in the 1920s was a renaissance that has come to be the very symbol of America in the 1920s. v The historical roots of this “renaissance” go all the way back to the American Civil War in 1865. The American Civil War resulted in African Americans receiving a new era of increased education and employment opportunities than before. This meant that for the first time in American history, there was something that resembled an African American middle class. With these increased opportunities African Americans believed that they would be able to expect a lifestyle similar to the lifestyle of white Americans. At this time most African Americans lived in the southern United States where racism and segregation was widespread. In 1896, racism and segregation became protected by the law and racial equality received a crushing blow in the monumental Supreme Court case of Plessey v. Ferguson. This case declared racial segregation to be constitutionally acceptable. Inevitably it made conditions much more harsh and intolerable for African Americans particularly in the southern parts of the United States. The equality extended to former slaves and their descendants became minimized. As cotton crops became to be infested by boll weevils and other crops became more profitable, the demand for African American labor also decreased in the South. As conditions became more intolerable in the south, African Americans moved north to the northern cities in the United States. This was a mass migration as African Americans went north by the millions. Racism was and still is an obstacle for these African Americans in the north. But it is far less brutal than in the south. Things were better for African Americans in the north. They were all granted the right to vote. They were given better educational advancement. They were also given better job opportunities as a result of World War I and the industrial revolution. This “great migration” brought up to seven million African Americans to the north.
The Harlem Renaissance So how did these historic events grow into the Cultural Revolution that is the Harlem Renaissance? Harlem was a neighborhood in New York that was initially intended to be for white workers who wanted to commute to the city. But the developers of Harlem made a few mistakes and were overambitious. Housing grew more rapidly than the transportation necessary to bring residents into the town. This once exclusive district was subsequently abandoned by the white middle class. The landlords in Harlem had no choice but to lower the prices. They started to sell their properties to black real estate agents. As a result of this African Americans began to move to Harlem by the thousands. From 1900 to 1920 the number of blacks in the New York neighborhood doubled and by the time the roads and subway systems reached Harlem many of the country’s most intelligent African American leaders, artists, intellectuals, and businessman had made Harlem their home. These intellectuals brought with them their talents and ambitions and soon Harlem would be known as “the Black Mecca” and “the capital of black America. Harlem became the largest concentration of African Americans in the world. The migration that caused Harlem to expand created a community of African American intellectuals. During the early 1900s many African Americans from the middle class began to advocate for racial equality. New York was without a doubt the epicenter of this movement because it contained three of the largest civil rights group’s headquarters. In 1909 the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People was found by Harvard scholar W. E. B. Du Bois and other African American and white civil rights workers. At the same time another man named Marcus Garvey began his promotion of a movement called the “Back to Africa movement”. Garvey founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League which advocated the reuniting of all people of African ancestry. He encouraged African Americans to come together and take pride in their heritage in race. These were revolutionary ideas during a time where such ideas were unheard of. These ideas did more than just work toward civil rights. They helped establish an African American community. These new ideas empowered African Americans around the country. It gave them the opportunity to work with whites to transform American society. Instead of using more direct means such as through politics, African American civil rights activists employed the artists and writers of their community to work for the goals of civil rights and equality. Jazz music, African American fine art, and black literature were the result of this and they were absorbed by the mainstream culture. This brought the American public’s attention to what was a previously separated part of the American population.
The Harlem Renaissance Jazz music was an important brainchild of the Harlem Renaissance. It became the cultural symbol of “The Roaring 20s”. Jazz was one of the first uniquely American musical genres. It was a mixture of African drums and European instruments. It moved from the south to the north with the migration of African Americans. After World War I, many Americans experienced an economic boom and change in social ideas. We became known for our celebration of excess and our rejection of wartime ideologies. More Americans began investing more time and money into leisure activities and artistic endeavors. This combined with the ratification of the Prohibition Act which banned the sale of alcohol caused rise to liquor-serving nightclubs called speakeasies. One of the best speakeasies in Harlem was the cotton club. It was a place that was designed to look like a Luxurious Southern plantation. To complete this theme, only African American entertainers were allowed to perform in this club. Only white Americans were allowed to be customers. Some of the most prominent celebrities came to see this club. Some of the most prominent African American performers of the day graced the stage. Attending clubs in Harlem’s allowed whites from New York to be exposed to what was typically only an African American form of musical entertainment, namely jazz. Jazz hit the mainstream and the Jazz Age swept America. All this was due to the Cultural Revolution that started in Harlem. Most people only think that the events that happened in Harlem were just a historic event. Maybe that’s all the history books will ever call this cultural movement. I don’t think people realize how profound the events that happened in Harlem truly were. Maybe they never will. I am consoled by the fact that I, for one, understand the significance of the Renaissance that happened in Harlem. The events that happened in Harlem changed not only the perception of African Americans in this country, it changed the cultural identity of this country. It gave African Americans hope for the future. And it gave Americans a musical genre and culture to call their own. Currently not many understand the significance of the Harlem Renaissance. But hopefully along with me my readers will understand the significance of this event as well.
Time Line 1921 – Johnson Act ini8ated
1919 -‐ Prohibi8on begins
1920 – Wall street bombing The People of Massachuse/s vs. Sacco and Vanze7
1925 – The State Tennessee versus John Scopes
1922-‐1923 – Teapot Dome Scandal
1924 – Na8onal Origins Act ini8ated
1927 -‐ Charles Lindbergh makes the ﬁrst solo, non-‐ stop trans-‐Atlan8c ﬂight
1926-‐ Jack Dempsey/Gene Tunney ﬁght
Tea Pot Dome Scandal The infamous Teapot Dome incident rocked this decade and revealed to the public the true nature of the intentions of many public officials. A close analysis of this political scandal shows that sometimes politicians are more interested in filling their pockets than protecting the interests of the people who give them power. It seems that since this decade started, politicians have been increasingly abusing their public office for private gain. However, when these politicians abuse their governmental power for personal gain they not only jeopardize people’s rights, they violate the very sacred meaning of our beloved constitution. If the growing trend of governmental corruption continues, in a short amount of time, one and a half century of beautifully divine American democracy will end up as a forgotten footnote in history books. This is why the public’s response to the Teapot Dome scandal is so important. As American people, it is our duty to protect our rights. As American people, it is also our duty to empower leaders who will choose to fight for the public instead of for themselves. Thank god for America, because this is a land where we have the power to be outraged and react to a scandal such as the Teapot Dome Scandal. A scandal by its very definition is not simply mere wrongdoing. For something to be considered a scandal, public outrage and reaction must be involved. This is why it should be duly noted that in countries without the freedom that America offers to its people, scandals are mostly nonexistent. If the public are not allowed to know about the behavior of politicians and officials, they have no opportunity to have their voices heard. We are fortunate enough to have the opportunity to have our voices heard. But what are our voices saying? What does the general public think of the Teapot Dome incident? While the general public agrees that the Teapot Dome Scandal and Interior Secretary Fall’s actions were undeniably wrong, there are still some in the general public who defend Interior Secretary Fall. These members of the general public claim that he was in his legal right to do the things he did. These members even claim that he was unfairly punished. To me, these opinions are as shocking as they are inspiring. These opinions inspire me to write this article. I wrote this article in order to address the members of the general public who believe that Interior Secretary Fall actions were justified. I believe that the Supreme Court and the Federal Government actions in response to the Teapot Dome Scandal were appropriate. I also believe that Fall and every other politician who will attempt or has attempted to abuse their power for personal gain should be punished very severely and be held in contempt by the general public because their actions are detrimental and harmful to the progress of this country as a whole. The Teapot Dome Scandal is perhaps the best example of government scandals in this country. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this incident, my above words are probably baffling. So I will continue by explaining the events of the Teapot Dome scandal. This was a scandal regarding the leasing of government owned oil reserves at Elk Hills, California and Teapot Dome, Wyoming. Previous presidential administrations had chosen to conserve certain tracts of land in Wyoming and California to create a naval oil reserve to be used in times of emergency by the navy when regular oil supplies have diminished. Many politicians and private oil interests had opposed the restrictions placed on the oil fields claiming that the reserves were unnecessary. These politicians and private companies claimed that the American oil companies could provide for the U.S. Navy even in times of emergency. One of these politicians who opposed the conservation of these tracts of land was Senator Albert B, Fall. Fall became President Warren Harding’s Secretary of Interior in 1921. Fall used his newfound power to convince the Secretary of the Navy to give control over these conserved oil fields to him. Fall then moved to abuse his power and lease the Teapot Dome tracts of land to the Mammoth Oil Company and the Elk Hills reserve to the Pan American Petroleum Company.
Sacco and Vanzetti In April 1920 a paymaster and a guard at a factory were found robbed and murdered. Three weeks later Nicola Sacco and Bartolommeo Vanzetti, Italian immigrants, anarchists, and protestors in the Palmer raids, were charged with the murders. Both were carrying guns when they were arrested, it was believed that Sacco’s was the murder weapon, and both could not secure a written alibi for the trial. They also were arrested because there was evidence that they had subscriptions to an anarchist newspaper. Sacco and Vanzetti were at a great disadvantage in their trial due to their immigration and anarchists views and were tried and found guilt unfairly.
In return for leasing these oil fields to these oil companies, Fall received “gifts”, or in other words bribes, from the oilmen totaling 400,000 dollars. While Fall attempted to keep actions secret, people noticed his sudden improved in his standard of living. Thomas J. Walsh, a democrat from Montana was the individual within the Senate who took charge of investigating of the alleged wrongdoing. The scandal was revealed to the public in 1924. In 1927, the Supreme Court ruled that the oil leases had been corruptly obtained. The Navy did regain control of the tracts of lands. Fall was found guilty of bribery and was fined 100,000 and sentenced to a year in prison. The above is an overall summary of the events of the Teapot Dome Scandal. To most, Fall is guilty of the crime the Supreme Court charged him of. However, Fall’s defenders claim that he was legally in his right to lease the oil fields to private oil companies and that even though he received money from the oil companies, this does not necessarily mean that he was bribed. Fall’s defenders also claim that governmental officials make similar deals with private companies all the time. They claim that by claiming Fall’s actions were wrong, we undermine every deal the government has made with private companies to benefit both parties. I will admit that it is true that Fall was in his legal rights to do what he chose to do. However, if the 400,000 dollars he received was indeed a gift, to be above suspicion he should have been completely open about receiving this money. So while Fall was legally allowed to lease the land, his accepting of the money ultimately led to his downfall. To the argument that government officials make similar deals with private companies all the time, just because it is done doesn’t mean it is right. All of these officials deserve to be punished just as Fall ultimately was. I believe that the government should not be allowed to make deals with private companies because the end result of this is one thing: corruption. Private companies have only one vested interest which is profit or money. Private companies will do anything to get more profit or more money. Admittedly, if private companies could literally rob us of our money without any consequences, then that is what private companies would do. So when such organizations make deals with the government, they have only one goal: to make more money. The government on the other hand should have another goal. The government should want to protect and represent the interests of the people. The government should be above suspicion and be an entity which does everything in its power to represent the people. I believe that this is what the government can be. However, the same doesn’t go for politicians. Politicians are not above suspicion or the law. Many politicians are selfish and are possibly motivated by personal gain. So when the government is allowed to make such deals with private companies, this leaves room for corruption, abuse of power, and infringement of the individual rights of all Americans. So, naturally I am against Fall, his defenders, and every politician who chooses to abuse his power for personal gain. Whether you support the Supreme Court’s decision or defend Fall, the public seriously needs to examine the current situation of governmental corruption. With a new decade comes a new opportunity for the people to choose how they will respond to the future scandals that are almost guaranteed to happen. I hope this article sheds some light on why politicians like Fall deserve severe punishment. I hope it also gives you insight into the causes, ramifications, and possible solutions to the problem of governmental corruption in America. If through writing this article I have achieved either of these goals, perhaps someday America will have a future where governmental corruption has been entirely eradicated.
Due to the fact that Sacco and Vanzetti were immigrants and anarchists, the public opposed them, the prosecution opposed them, and even the judge opposed them. The judge called them “those anarchist bastards” openly proclaiming his opposition to them. Also, the witnesses for the prosecution who identified them in the beginning testimony stated “I don’t think I have the right to say he is the man” but later in testimony they claimed that they in fact were the men at the scene of the crime. Judge Webster Thayer and Atty. General Palmer believed that foreigners and anarchists “deserved no consideration anyway”, which goes against the belief that all citizens should have the right to a fair trial. These men were tried unfairly, and even though the prosecution had weak physical evidence linking them to the crime they were found guilty simply because of the discrimination in the courtroom against immigrants and anarchists. I believe that yes, they were immigrants, anarchists, and participated in the Palmer raids; however, there also was no direct physical evidence linking them to the crime and were found guilty unfairly Trying these men unfairly obviously was not the only time this happened. Opposition and oppression was and still is very common. There are examples of Negroes being lynched and tried unfairly simply for being on the wrong side of town, or looking at a white woman, etc. The jury foreman for the Sacco and Vanzetti trial even stated “they ought to hang anyway”. Is there any reason besides the fact that they are foreigners and anarchists that they should be killed? If they truly did not commit Sacco and Venzetti may have been guilty. However, that is not the question. this crime our justice system has put two men to death The question is, were they given a fair trial? And the answer to this is no they simply because of where they come from. were not. With the judge, the jury, and the American people against them beSacco and Vanzetti were wrongly accused, tried, and sentenced to death simply because of their immigration and anarchist views. The public was against them, the prosecution was against them, and even the judge and jury were against them. There was no way they could have won. There is still controversy about this case on whether or not they were innocent, they very well may not have been. However, their rights were clearly violated by being opposed for their immigration and tried unfairly. They were only accused because they had subscriptions to anarchist newspapers and they had guns, there was no clear physical evidence and they were not found at the scene of the crime.
cause of their immigrant status, Sacco and Venzetti had no chance of getting a fair share of the rights guaranteed to them by the bill of rights. That is why their trial is important to understand. It shows how intolerance in America is impeding justice. Inadvertently Sacco and Venzetti became underdogs who represent those in America who are affected by injustice, intolerance, and violated rights. I think Venzetti understood this when he was executed. Because some of his last words given to a reporter for the North American Newspaper Alliance before he was executed in 1927 were this: “If it had not been for these things, I might have lived out my life talking at street corners to scorning men. I might have died, unmarked, unknown, a failure. Now we are not a failure. This is our career and our triumph. Never in our full life could we hope to do such work for tolerance, for justice, for man’s understanding of man as now we do by accident. Our words--our lives--our pains--nothing! The taking of our lives--lives of a good shoemaker and a poor fish-peddler--all! That last moment belongs to us--that agony is our triumph.”
The State of Tennessee versus John ScopesTrial This last decade has seen many large and trials occur, but none more controversial or widely talked about than the trial of the State of Tennessee versus John Scopes. Thousands of Americans listened in, poked fun at, or argued over the events of what was called the Scopes monkey trial. This case was very controversial. In the end the trial brought this argument to a national scale and has brought the public’s attention to the debate on what should be taught. Should evolution be taught in schools or should we continue to teach what the bible states? This question may be debated for years to come. My answer to this question however, is that evolution should be taught in schools across this country. The trial began when John Scopes, a high school biology teacher, was accused of teaching evolution in school, a violation of the Butler Act. John Scopes was defended by famed defense attorney, Clarence Darrow, while the prosecution was represented by William Jennings Bryan. The trial was a contest between modernists, who said religion was consistent with evolution, and fundamentalists, who said the word of God as revealed in the Bible trumped all human knowledge. Scopes never actually testified in the case because he did not know for sure if he had taught evolution. The trial lasted seven days until the Court found John Scopes guilty, but a technicality had the verdict overturned. However it was not the verdict of the trial that was the source of so much attention from the public. The biggest source of interest was from the debate between Darrow and Bryan. William Jennings Bryan and Clarence Darrow were representing two opposing ideas and conducted an all out theological “war” in the court room that lasted for seven day. The trial may have continued longer, but the judge found the argument invalid to the trial at hand. The debate sparked the interest of thousands of Americans and made them think. Williams was the favored argument and many had speculated at Darrow’s defeat before the trial even ended. Darrow however was unfazed and continued his defense with enthusiasm. Even through the public’s support of Bryan and his defense of the bible, Darrow presented the ideas of evolution. Bryan returned Darrow’s argument by saying that Darrow was using the court to “slur the Bible”. Overall the case was, in my opinion, unimportant. However, the issue that was the topic of this case is what I believe to be important. There is no denying that this is a controversial issue. One can easily understand both sides of the issue. Religious fundamentalists are against teaching evolution in school because it’s against their religion and faith. The act of teaching evolution undermines the faith that has given many of them hope in times of despair and happiness in times of sadness. It also threatens to convince their children to turn against their religion. So it is easily understand why they are against it. As for scientists, it is also easily understood why they support it. Unlike religion, science is based more on evidence. You cannot see god. But you can see the evidence to support science. Unlike the views held by the religious fundamentalists, Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution is supported by much evidence. So to progress in science, scientists want to be able to set Darwin’s theory as a base for progression. That cannot be done until it is accepted by everybody and taught in schools. Both sides of this issue have valid points. However, my support goes to the scientists for quite a few reasons. Firstly, science is important to this nation. Advances in science and technology are the only things that keep this country ahead of the rest of the world. Without science we will easily fall behind. In order for science to advance we must educate our kids. So that means science and education is a matter of the state, not the church. There has always been a uniquely clear separation of church and state in this country. By turning away from science in the classrooms we are ignoring that fundamental idea which our founding fathers intentionally ingrained into the foundations of the country. Another reason I believe that evolution should be taught in schools is because children have a right to see both sides of the issue and choose what to believe in. Regardless of what is taught in school, religion will be taught to children at home. So if religion is also taught in school they will not know both sides of the issue. If evolution is taught on the other hand, children will be given a choice to decide what to believe in. That is freedom in its most basic and raw form. Maybe I am wrong to believe what I believe. I am not writing this article to enflame every Christian in this country. God knows I am not long for this earth if that is my intention. I am writing this article to express my views and see what other people believe. Hopefully I have succeeding in doing this. Regardless, I still believe that Darrow and the scientists deserve my support. Again, I reiterate that I may be wrong.
People of the Decade!
People of the Decade!
Charlie Chaplin –Actor of the Decade
Charles Lindberg- Pioneer of the Decade
Charlie Spencer Chaplin’s films are some of the most popular films of this decade. Chaplin was born in London in 1889. He visited America with a theatre company in 1907. In the early 1910’s, Charlie toured America with the Fred Karno Company which was a comedy group. Eventually Charlie became involved with the Keystone Film Company in which Charlie began a career in move acting. During this time, Chaplin created his infamous role of the “Tramp”, which is the role that many agree that he is best known for. After making thirty short movies with Keystone Films, Chaplin signed a contract with National Films where he starred in A Dog’s Life, Shoulder Arms, and The Kidd. Chaplin, in 1923, joined with other entertainers to make United Artists. During this time Chaplin starred in A Woman in Paris, The Gold Rush, and The Circus. With these movies Chaplin has won a great deal of critical acclaim. All three of these films are considered by movie critics to be his funniest films thus far. Chaplin has won an Academy Award this year in 1929 for his work in The Circus. By almost all accounts, Chaplin is the greatest actor of the 1920’s. That is why we chose to award Chaplin the title of Actor of the Decade.
Charles Lindbergh took off in the plane called The Spirit of St. Louis from Roosevelt Field in New York on the morning of May 20, 1927. He flew northeast along the coast and headed over the Atlantic. He navigated only using his magnetic compass and his airspeed indicator. 34 hours later with a lot of luck he was arrived in Paris. A crowd of more than 100,000 people gathered at Le Bourget Field to congratulate him because he became the world’s first man to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. Back in 1927, this was a pretty big deal. Many of the world’s most famous pilots were attempting to cross the Atlantic Ocean from New York to Paris. A hotel businessman named Raymond Orteig offered a 25,000 dollar prize to the first man to complete the feat. Four men had died trying and three had been seriously injured. Two men simply disappeared. Despite this Lindberg attempted to become the first man to fly across the Atlantic Ocean. When he accomplished this feat he literally changed the course of history. By plane, he was able to do in 34 hours what would take weeks by ship. His remarkable brave feat has earned him the title of Pioneer of the Decade.
Smuggling, Bootlegging, Moon shining, and Distributing Illegal Alcohol-Crime of the Decade It is hard to believe that a decade has passed since alcohol was first made illegal. Yet somehow, even today, people are able to come across some giggle water to drink. This is all thanks to the smugglers, bootleggers, moonshiners, owners of “speaksies”, and distributers who have faithfully served the need for alcohol throughout the past decade. Prohibition seems to be extremely unpopular. Studies show that 80% of the population is against this law. It is also a law that law enforcement seems incapable of being able to enforce. It is a law that millions of people area continuously breaking. It is a law that is making many criminals rich. These crimes are the crimes of the decade because they are no doubt crimes that are unique to this specific decade.
Model T Ford- Car of the Decade The first production Model T Ford was assembled at a plant in Detroit on October 1, 1908. Over the next 19 years, Ford would build fifteen million automobiles with the Model “T” engine. From 1908 this car hasn’t changed very much. But Henry Ford has succeeded with this car in fulfilling his goal of building a car for the masses. This low priced and sturdy hunk of metal made Henry Ford and his company the biggest in the industry. In 1914, the moving assembly line enabled Ford to produce far more cars than any other company. The Model T coupled with mass production made Ford an international celebrity. A couple of years ago, on May 26, 1927 Henry Ford watched the last Model T Ford roll off the assembly line at his factory in Michigan. It was a melancholy occasion. This car was the industrial success story of the age, but that day was the day that the long life of the Model T was about to come to an end. While Model T cars are no longer produced, we still believe this car deserves to be car of the decade. This car is not the most glamorous car. It isn’t even the cheapest car available currently. But it is the car that transformed many people in this country’s way of life. This car placed the power of the internal combustion engine within the reach of the average citizen. This car transformed the automobile itself from a toy of the rich to a necessity of the poor. About ten million Model T Fords have been produced in the 20’s alone. This car changed the world. Even though, like the 1920s this car has come to an end. We still believe that it deserves to be recognized for the history that this car made. 29
Babe Ruth- Athlete of the Decade People are calling Babe Ruth the greatest baseball player. While his name is George Herman Ruth Jr., he is known by many as the Sultan of Swat, The Home Run King, Bambino, and the Babe. Babe Ruth was born as George Herman Ruth Jr. Him and his sister Mamie were the only two of George and Kate Ruth’s eight children to make it to adulthood. Ruth had it tough as a kid. His parents worked long hours running a bar and so little George got into all sorts of trouble with his parents too busy to pay attention to him. He was sent to St. Mary’s Industrial School for Boys when he was seven. He continued to go to this reformatory school for “unfixable boys” until he was 19. But it was here the Ruth became the legendary baseball player that he is today. He was a natural on the baseball field. After getting into the minor leagues as a 19 year old pitcher Ruth eventually made his way to the Red Sox and the Yankees. With the Yankees, Ruth made history, broke records, and became a legend. In 1920 he broke a home run record and hit 54 home runs in a single season. In 1921 he broke his own record and hit 59. In 1927 Ruth hit 60 home runs! It is a record that still stands today. Many consider the 1927 Yankee team to be the best team ever. During the 1920s Ruth broke records, hit home runs, and created history like no other athlete we know. This is why we gave him the award of Athlete of the Decade.
Published on Apr 4, 2011