American music flourished and expanded during the 1930s, driven by a search for authentic American voices and rhythms. From sophisticated symphonic composers, urban recording executives, rural radio-station operators, and the Smithsonian Institution to the Library of Congress, the general trend among music lovers and producers was to seek out voices of the American people and to adapt their songs or record them directly in an effort to capture what was a disappearing authenticity.
Long time no speak huh? I know you haven’t heard from me in a while but that’s only because I’ve been kind of busy with my music lately. I’m a musician mama! Can you believe it? In this day and age it’s hard to be anything at all. Boy these are some hard times but I’m making it through. Mama I tell yah there are so many immigrants here now. If you didn’t hear or don’t know we are going through a Great Depression. What’s The Great Depression? Technically, it’s when everyone is broke and there’s no jobs/people getting fired so therefore you have no chance of restoring yourself. I have this friend I met who emigrated from Mexico. He told me of the things he went through with his family. Here is what he told me: He said that him and his family lived inside of a dirty ditch for weeks at a time. They often moved from place to place to harvest crops. He couldn’t get a job because he was discriminated against when he tried to file for employment; even the legal immigrants couldn’t get jobs, and instead were rounded up and sent to Mexico. Pretty hectic huh? Well listen to this, then the stock market crashed making the situation even worse than before! The crash of the stock market put just about everyone in a bundle. Including me. Here’s how it started; throughout the year, investors were speculating in the stock market. Economists began to worry that high stock prices were based on confidence, not reality. Many investors were gambling and tried to get rich quick. They bought the margin. Buying the margin means they borrowed money from banks (or loaned) to invest in the stock market. Then came the actual crash of the stack market. By October (1929) investors lost confidence in stock market and began to sell their stocks. On October 29th (black Thursday) a major drop in prices made investors to try to sell their stock fast. So you see where it came from right? Yes ma’am, its crazy how things can just go from bad to worse in a blink of an eye. But like you told me there is always silver lining right? Well in this case, Mr. Herbert Hoover was that silver lining. Mr. Herbert Hoover or the “self made man” as he was called, was born poor but ended up making a fortune! He often turned to the idea of public service. Herbert took office in March of 1929. In his campaign, he promised prosperity and an end to poverty. He soon won over his opponent. I think that both you and I can agree that this is a very tragic even and is nowhere near any type of “normal”. According to volunteerism, Hoover leading economic saw the depression as part of the natural business cycle. He believed the problem would fix itself if the government stayed out of it (Laissez Faire Economics) He also supported the concept of rugged individualism. Then he realized that action was needed. But what goes up must come down. Volunteerism then failed. Volunteerism encouraged but did not require businesses and individuals to work for the betterment of the whole rather than themselves. So Localism stepped in! Hoover encouraged state and local governments to provide more jobs and relief efforts. Local governments lacked the resources to provide enough support. Hoover also believed that the government could not provide direct relief because it violated the constitution. Enough about all this technical stuff let me tell you about the bank closings. As the economic depression deepened around the early 30’s and farmers had less and less money to spend in town. After to stock market crash, banks started to fail. When a new president Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected in march 1933, banks in all 48 states had either closed or placed restrictions on how much money you could take out of your account. FDR’s first act as president was to declare a national “bank holiday” closing the banks for a three-days. That’s pretty messed up huh? I know id be pretty upset if I couldn’t get my money! What do you think? I agree completely. That’s kind of dry. Speaking of dry have you ever heard of the Dustbowl? No? Well let me fill you in; in the 1930s every thing was dry as the Sahara desert. It caused a huge problem for homes, schools, and farmers. Many people had to desert their homes and land because the dust was so intense. Although many people tried to beat the dust by wearing cloths over their mouths and windows but sadly the attempts failed. The dust storms not only lasted for hours at a time but days and maybe even weeks at a time. The dustbowl affected pretty much everyone, women, men, children and even infants. The after math of this mishap was devastating ending with sadness despair and even death. Sad. Just sad. But not everything here is depressing. There was one thing that kept peoples spirits up. Entertainment! They have cinemas. You can turn on the radio and listen to movies and talk shows and the news. If you’re looking for something to put a little pep in your step you can turn on some jazz. While businesses continued to fall dance hall were packed with people dancing the jitterbug to the music of big bands (which was called swing music). Swing bands attracted a lot of attention from the public. The unique rhythms and blues riffs called for talented musicians to step out and solo. One person in particular stood out. Mr. Woody Guthrie. He is an American singer/song writer and folk musician who wrote about political situations. He wrote many genres of music. One song in particular that he wrote was called “This Machine Kills Fascists” but his most popular song is “This Land Is Your Land.” Well I have to go now but I hope you enjoyed my letter to you. I love you mama and take care.
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