Social Studies - 2018-19

USII.6c - Cultural Climate of the 1920's and 1930's

The student will apply social science skills to understand the social, economic, and technological changes of the early twentieth century by

c) examining art, literature, and music from the 1920's and 1930's, with emphasis on Langston Hughes, Duke Ellington, Georgia O’Keeffe, and the Harlem Renaissance;

Adopted: 2015



The 1920s and 1930s were important decades for American art, literature, and music.

The leaders of the Harlem Renaissance drew upon the heritage of African American culture to establish themselves as powerful forces for cultural change.


Cultural climate of the 1920s and 1930s

 Art: Georgia O’Keeffe, an artist known for urban scenes and, later, paintings of the Southwest

 Literature: F. Scott Fitzgerald, a novelist who wrote about the Jazz Age of the 1920s; John Steinbeck, a novelist who portrayed the strength of poor migrant workers during the 1930s

 Music: Aaron Copland and George Gershwin, composers who wrote uniquely American music

Harlem Renaissance

African American artists, writers, and musicians based in Harlem revealed the freshness and variety of African American culture:

 Art: Jacob Lawrence, a painter who chronicled the experiences of the Great Migration through art

 Literature: Langston Hughes, a poet who combined the experiences of African and American cultural roots

 Music: Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong, jazz musicians; Bessie Smith, a blues singer

The popularity of these artists spread beyond Harlem to the rest of society.


Updated: May 16, 2018