The 1910s Lifestyles and Social Trends: Headline Makers

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The 1910s Lifestyles and Social Trends: Headline Makers

Marcus Garvey
Cass Gilbert
Joe Hill
John R. Mott
Alice Paul
George Santayana

Marcus Garvey (1887–1940) British West Indies activist and black nationalist Marcus Garvey moved to Harlem in 1916, where his philosophies had a tremendous impact on the African American community. Through his newspaper the Negro World, established in 1918, he preached the importance of unity for the black race and called for a return to the African homeland. In 1919, Garvey bought a ship and sold tickets for his "Back to Africa" movement. Soon he controlled three ships called the Black Star Line and actually headed six voyages to Africa. However, the Black Star Line was mismanaged, and Garvey was convicted of mail fraud. He spent two years in prison and then was deported to Jamaica.

Cass Gilbert (1859–1934) Cass Gilbert was the architect for the Woolworth Building (1913) in New York City. He adorned this early skyscraper with Gothic-style, terra cotta gargoyles (grotesque, carved animal or human figures), and, at 792 feet, it remained the world's tallest building until 1930. A leading Beaux-Arts architect of the early twentieth century, Gilbert designed such prominent public buildings as the St. Louis (Missouri) Central Public Library (1912), the Detroit (Michigan) Public Library (1914), and in Washington, D.C., the U.S. Treasury Annex (1919), and the U.S. Supreme Court Building (1935). He served as president of the American Institute of Architects from 1908 to 1909, and as a member the National Commission of Fine Arts from 1910 to 1918.

Joe Hill (1879–1915) Swedish immigrant Joe Hill was a laborer and songwriter. Between 1902 and 1910, he traveled through the United States taking odd jobs, and in 1910 he joined the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), a union of socialists advocating violent upheaval of the capitalist system. Hill's songs, particularly "The Preacher and the Slave," glorified the workers' struggle, raising morale among his fellow Wobblies (IWW members). In July 1914, Hill was convicted on a dubious murder charge and executed by a firing squad in November 1915. Many rallied around Hill as a victim of the capitalist system. He is immortalized in dramatic works and song as a working class hero and legend.

John R. Mott (1865–1955) The life goal of John R. Mott was to spread the gospel of Christianity, and he became America's greatest organizer of missionaries. His work intensified as war broke out in 1914, and he tried to spread ideas of peace to the warring nations. From 1915 to 1928, he served as general secretary of the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA). He was also chairman of the Student Volunteer Movement for Foreign Missions (SVMFM), dedicated to the "evangelization of the world in this generation." Because Mott's missionary work was so important to him, he turned down a number of prestigious positions, including U.S. ambassador to China, president of Princeton University, and dean of the Yale Divinity School.

Alice Paul (1885–1977) Suffragist Alice Paul grew up among Quakers, a religious group who advocated voting rights for women. She obtained a Ph.D. in social work from the University of Pennsylvania in 1912, and set out for Washington, D.C., to lobby Congress and President Wilson to pass a federal amendment granting women the right to vote. After years of effort—which included lobbying, educating, picketing, and even going to jail for five weeks—she succeeded in convincing Congress to enact the Nineteenth Amendment in 1919, which gave women the right to vote. She then returned to school and earned three law degrees. For the remainder of her long life, Paul lobbied for the passage of an Equal Rights Amendment to assure equality for women in all aspects of American life.

George Santayana (1863–1952) From 1889 to 1912, Spanish American George Santayana was a professor of philosophy at Harvard University. One of America's most influential philosophers, Santayana's message of Ethical Idealism stressed the importance of testing truth through experience; to his way of thinking, beliefs should be based on evidence, rather than blind faith. Young intellectuals who were questioning the foundations of industrial capitalism sought guidance through Santayana's writings. His most renowned writings include The Sense of Beauty (1896), The Life of Reason, or the Phases of Human Progress (1906–17; five volumes), Scepticism and Animal Faith (1922), and Realms of Being (1927–40; four volumes).

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The 1910s Lifestyles and Social Trends: Headline Makers

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The 1910s Lifestyles and Social Trends: Headline Makers