Two Essays

African American Movement Events

In the fourth part of her book Coming of Age in Mississippi, Anne Moody reflects on her experience when she joined Civil Rights Movement. Her memoirs about those times are especially valuable for the US history. She also tells about her acquaintance with officials from the NAACP. Taking into account the discrimination and harassment that Moody experienced during her childhood and at college, she begins to take an active participation in the movement. The reader can see the great evolution of her views throughout the book, especially when Anne finally realizes that she must fight to overcome racial discrimination and segregation.

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Several important events for American history are highlighted in the book, such as the sit-in at Woolworth, in which Moody also took part. It is especially interesting because Moody narrates about it from the first person, which makes the reader feel involved in the event. Everything started when Anne and several demonstrators asked to be served at a segregated restaurant. As a result, an angry mob gathered around the demonstrators. Some people threw stones while others shouted anti-African American slogans. Finally, the civil rights activists were heavily beaten and kicked out from the restaurant. Nevertheless, such aggression did not surprise Anne Moody. What shocked her most of all was the fact that policemen stood and watched the crowd beating the Black demonstrators (Moody, 2011, p. 290). What is more, the police officers refused to escort them away, expressing unwillingness to protect Negroes. After all, Moody understands “how sick Mississippi whites were” (Moody, 2011, p.290) that they would even kill in order to preserve the segregated way of life in the South.

According to Moody (2011, p.290), one of the reasons for the failure of most such protest was indifference or fear of the majority of African Americans in the South. Indeed, fighting for civil rights was a hazardous activity at that time. However, the demonstrations at Woolworth attracted attention of other activists, which led to several instances of picketing. Furthermore, the demonstrators set their demands into a single program that made the movement more systematical and fundamental. Additionally, it became easier to deliver their program to other people, both White and Black, involving them in African American Civil Rights movement. It can be concluded that Moody’s memoirs are extremely significant for the American history providing a personal insight on the African American struggle for civil rights.  Without a doubt, this phenomenon is an essential step in the formation and development of democracy in the country. Moreover, her book is especially relevant since the story is told by a witness and an active participant of African American movement.

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Prosperity Decade

Chapter 21 of the book Making America by Carol Berkin narrates about an important period in the American history, which is commonly known as Prosperity Decade or Roaring Twenties. It was an era of the great rise for both the American economy and society. Many radical developments took place during this time. First of all, the Prohibition, which was initially supposed to make the society more moderate, made it even more dissolute. Further, the USA saw the rise of a new music genre. Due to the rapid popularity growth of Jazz, this period in the history of the United States was called a Jazz Age. What makes it even more distinguished is the fact that most compositions were created and performed by Black musicians. Thus, African Americans who were almost exiled from the society due to segregation received an opportunity to spread African American culture among White community. The golden era for African American culture is also related to literature, dancing and art. Generally, during the Roaring Twenties, American culture experienced a considerable period of development as the first movies appeared, and the radio became a popular mass medium, etc.

Moreover, it was a significant period for American economy because the United States were largely industrialized that led to the rise in the production of consumer goods (Berkin, Miller, Cherny, Gormly, & Egerton, 2014, p. 566). Fashion was rapidly changed in order to encourage consumers to follow it. Undoubtedly, it would be impossible without the involvement of mass media, which became a considerable power in forming the ideology of consumerism. Advertising came to a new level of influence on consumers, making people buy new products.

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Meanwhile, on the wave of the Prohibition policy, bootlegging became an inevitable aspect of American society. It tainted American economy, deprived state treasury of millions of taxes and spoiled American society. Finally, it led to the establishment of organized crime groups or mafia. On the other hand, religious communities became more active, organizing the fundamentalist movement. At the same time, Ku Klux Klan became very active in the 1920s, for the first time after 18th century. Most of all, it was caused by the continuing policy of racial segregation and general discrimination of African Americans in Southern states. It was followed by radical restrictions on immigration that stopped the flow of immigrants to the United States for a while but had adverse effects on the American economy.

However, most of all, this era is known as the preceding period of the Great Depression. It was especially crucial for the American economy, which finally influenced other spheres of social life resulting in the collapse of the market. Basically, the Great Depression was a consequence of thoughtless administration during the Prosperity Era. Total lack of control during the Roaring Twenties left the country with poverty and incredible inflation, leading thousands of enterprises to collapse.

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