Jazz And The Charleston In The 1920's

2105 words - 8 pages

What comes to mind when thinking of the 1920’s? Most people think of the freedom the United States felt after World War I and that is exactly what jazz and the Charleston symbolize (Boundless.com par. 1). Jazz and the Charleston were extremely controversial in the 1920’s because they promoted a new way of thinking, which outraged the older generations (Knowles 160). Older generations did not like the fact that young people were becoming more and more daring with their actions just by playing music and dancing (Boundless.com par. 6). Today, jazz and the Charleston are thought of as out of date, but without them, music today would be completely different. Jazz and the Charleston revolutionized modern music and dance by altering the rhythm of classical music, changing the culture of American society (Boundless.com par. 1).
Jazz was introduced directly after World War I by African-Americans (Boundless.com par. 1). Although jazz was composed by many different African-Americans the main founder of jazz was Ethel Waters (McCorkle par. 8). Jazz was first played in New Orleans, but as the African-Americans moved north, white citizens caught on and tuned jazz into a new craze (Lindop 107). Even though jazz was created in New Orleans, Chicago became the home of jazz music (Bingham 8). The first jazz players derived the tune from a mixture of Latin American, African, and European rhythms, making it very popular among many different types of people (“Latin Jazz” par. 1). Jazz was so well-liked because it gave the artists the opportunity to make the predetermined tune their own (“What is jazz par. 1). When listening to jazz the same song is never heard twice because the band members each put their own spin on the way they play their instruments; therefore, creating many different versions of the same song (“What is Jazz” par. 1).
In the 1920’s jazz was considered to be, “a serious threat to the nation’s moral and social fabric.” (Drowne 204). The older generations did not like jazz because they thought it had a negative effect on the youth of America (Knowles 160). Jazz was thought to have been the cause of the younger generation’s rebellion (Boundless.com par. 6). Jazz was considered a sin in the eyes of those who did not like it because these people felt that jazz was corrupting the youth of the United States (Lindop 110). One of the main reasons why jazz was thought of as a sin was because more and more unmarried women were becoming pregnant, and the older generation of citizens held jazz music responsible (Drowne 204). The older generations also thought that jazz was a sin because it was played in speakeasies, and no one with high morals would dare go to a speakeasy (Lindop 109). Everything that went wrong in the 1920’s was caused by jazz in the eyes of the older citizens (Drowne 204).
In the 1920’s many people thought that jazz was a threat to young people, and, as a result, jazz was almost banned in many American cities (Knowles 163). Jazz was...

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