Detroit’s Boom Decade
Feb. 22 (Sat.) 1pm
Detroit has never experienced another decade like the Roaring Twenties. Jack Lessenberry, radio commentator at WUOM–FM, columnist with Metro Times, and journalism professor at Wayne State University, describes how the city underwent a fantastic population boom, put the world on wheels, and helped much of the Midwest violate the Volstead Act, even while tiny seeds were planted that would lead to Detroit’s eventual decline.
We Have Decided We Are Not Going to Run
Feb. 23 (Sun.) 2pm
Roger Rosentreter, Ph.D., professor of history at Michigan State University and former editor of Michigan History Magazine, recounts the story of Dr. Ossian Sweet, whose confrontation with Detroit’s segregated housing practices led to mob violence, the death of a white protestor, and Dr. Sweet facing murder charges. The subsequent seven-week trial did not end segregation in Detroit, but stood as an important victory for integration.
Michigan Women of the 1920s
Feb. 26 (Wed.) 11am
Emily Fijol, assistant director of the Michigan Women’s Historical Center and Hall of Fame, introduces some of the impressive women from Michigan’s history, and describes the impact they had during the 1920s, when women were voting and being elected to office for the first time, suffragists were reorganizing into the League of Women Voters, and women were making important advances in education, sanitation, and public welfare.
Real to Reel Film Series: Scarface
Feb. 27 (Thur.) 1pm
Elton Weintz, professor of history at Macomb Community College, presents Scarface, the 1932 film based on the 1929 novel of the same name, which portrays the unbridled gang warfare that came about during Prohibition in the 1920s. (95 minutes)
The Prosperity Decade: Consumerism, Credit and Advertising
Feb. 28 (Fri.) 11am
Macomb Community College Professor Elliott Meyrowitz, J.D., Ph.D., discusses how American society was transformed by new technologies such as electrical appliances and automobiles, and how consumerism was stimulated by mass distribution, chain stores, installment buying, and modern advertising on the radio and in national magazines.
The Great Gatsby
Feb. 28 (Fri.) 1pm
Macomb Community College Professor Philip Barrons shows the 1974 film The Great Gatsby, based on the classic book by F. Scott Fitzgerald, which captured the spirit of the Jazz Age. (144 minutes)
The Silent Syndicate: The History of the Mafia in Detroit
Mar. 1 (Sat.) 1pm
The history of the Detroit underworld is explored in this presentation by Scott M. Burnstein, journalist and author of the book Motor City Mafia: A Century of Organized Crime in Detroit. Burnstein tracks the bloodshed, exploits, and leadership of crime syndicates in southeast Michigan.
Nash Motors and the Hudson Motor Car Company in the Roaring Twenties: A Contrast in Management and Cars
Mar. 2 (Sun.) 2pm
In the 1920s, Nash Motors produced stodgy but reliable cars. In contrast, the Hudson Motor Car Company introduced several revolutionary automobiles. Charles K. Hyde, Ph.D., professor emeritus at Wayne State University, analyzes the two very different strategies for success used by these companies during the decade.
Meadow Brook Hall: The Great Estate
Mar. 5 (Wed.) 11am
Madelyn Rzadkowolski, curator at Meadow Brook Hall and Gardens, presents the transformation of Meadow Brook Estate from a humble country retreat to one of the largest, grandest historic homes in the country. The Hall, built between 1926 and 1929 by Matilda Dodge Wilson, is considered one of the finest examples of Tudor-revival architecture in America.
The Early Days of Radio in Michigan
Mar. 6 (Thur.) 11am
Program Source International’s Al and Dave Eicher present the history of the first commercial radio stations and programs. Beginning in the 1920s, both public interest and radio set sales skyrocketed, and radio became an American pastime, with some of the best shows originating from Detroit, Chicago and New York City.
The Golden Age of Fly Fishing in Michigan
Mar. 7 (Fri.) 11am
Wayne Snyder, fly fishing expert and author of the book The Golden Age: Fly Fishing in Michigan 1880–1960, recounts how fly fishing changed throughout the turmoil of the 1920s, as well as the story of the men and women who shaped fly fishing in Michigan: the conservationists, fly dressers, rod crafters, guides, artists, and authors.
Art Deco in Detroit
Mar. 8 (Sat.) 1pm
Rebecca Binno Savage, writer, preservationist, and board member of the Detroit Area Art Deco Society, surveys the wide-ranging examples of Art Deco in Detroit, from famous landmarks such as the Fisher and Penobscot buildings to commercial buildings, theaters, homes, and churches.
The Golden Age of Public Transportation in Detroit
Mar. 9 (Sun.) 2pm
In the 1920s, Detroit’s Department of Street Railways successfully moved millions of transit passengers throughout the rapidly expanding city. Kenneth Schramm, transportation historian and author of Detroit’s Street Railways, discusses the electric streetcars and the interurban railway system that once operated throughout Detroit and southeast Michigan.
Prohibition in Detroit
Mar. 12 (Wed.) 11am
Author Armando Delicato profiles Prohibition, the dramatic and fascinating period in Detroit history when, as an international border town with a waterway boundary and low support for Prohibition, the city became an epicenter for illegal liquor smuggling and related criminal activity.
Big Band Beginnings: Popular Dance Music of the 1920s
Mar. 15 (Sat.) 1pm
This live performance by the Hotel Savarine Society Orchestra, a ten-piece musical group that authentically recreates the sounds, songs, and appearance of the 1920s, showcases well-known and less-familiar pop and blues songs of the era.
The Flapper, The Feminist, The New (and True) Woman: Struggle and Progress After the Vote Was Won
Mar. 16 (Sun.) 2pm
Katherine H. Adams, Ph.D., Hutchinson Distinguished Professor and chair of the English department at Loyola University, New Orleans, looks at women’s organizations, legal battles, education, and participation in changing social expectations as women made their mark on American history long after the 19th Amendment was ratified.
Art Deco: Art and Architecture
Mar. 19 (Wed.) 11am
Professor Michael Farrell of Art House Lectures and Tours highlights significant examples of Art Deco, or “Le Style Moderne,” which swept Europe and the U.S. during the 1920s, not only in the decorative arts, but also in painting, sculpture, and, perhaps most notably, architecture.
Boom Town: Detroit in the Roaring Twenties
Mar. 20 (Thur.) 11am
In the 1920s, Detroit’s automobile business was at full throttle, resulting in a city that grew faster than any other on the continent. Joel Stone, senior curator for the Detroit Historical Society, presents on this era in Detroit’s history, which also includes Prohibition, rumrunning, and organized crime.
F. Scott Fitzgerald: His Life and Craft
Mar. 26 (Wed.) 11am
F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote of the times in which he lived: the Jazz Age, a term he both coined and personified during the 1920s. Robert Carlson, founder of Eclectic Lectures and member of the F. Scott Fitzgerald Society, presents the story of this great American author’s life.
From the 1600s, to the 1920s, to Today: An Artistic Collaboration
Mar. 28 (Fri. ) 11am
Salvador Salort-Pons, head of European Art at the DIA; and Madelyn Rzadkowolski, curator at Meadow Brook Hall, will discuss a special painting acquired by Alfred and Matilda Wilson in 1926,”Saint John the Baptist and Lamb,” by Bartolome Esteban Murillo. They will also discuss the restoration collaboration between the DIA, Meadow Brook Hall, and Oakland University.
Music of the Jazz Age
Mar. 29 (Sat.) 1pm
Music played such an important part in society during the 1920s that the period has often been referred to as the Jazz Age. John Bowditch, director of exhibits emeritus at the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum, will explore the wonderfully rich legacy of popular music in America during the 1920s by sharing original recordings made during the decade.
Puttin’ on the Ritz: Fashion in the Jazz Age
Mar. 30 (Sun.) 2pm
The curators of touring exhibit Fashion and the Automobile–Lynn Anderson, Victoria Mobley and Elaine Vermeersch–describe how fashion in the Roaring Twenties was influenced by function, environment, lifestyle, and world events. The show will include fashions from the past and present, as what’s old becomes new again.
Downtown Detroit Retailing in the 1920s and Beyond
Apr. 2 (Wed.) 11am
By the 1920s, Detroit’s Woodward Avenue had become a mecca for retail, restaurants, and services. Michael Hauser, author of Twentieth Century Retailing in Downtown Detroit, details the heyday of the department store, and shares images and artifacts from establishments such as the J. L. Hudson Company, Crowley Milner and Company, and the Ernst Kern Company.
Real to Reel Film Series: Wings
Apr. 3 (Thur.) 1pm
The 1927 silent film Wings, the first to win the Academy Award for best picture, tells the story of two men from the same town who fight together in the Great War. Macomb Community College Professor of history, Elton Weintz, presents. (144 minutes)
Detroit’s Infamous Purple Gang
Apr. 4 (Fri.) 11am
Paul R. Kavieff, a recognized authority on the Detroit underworld and organized crime, traces the evolution of the Purples from their days as a juvenile street gang through their rise to power and eventual self-destruction.
Albert Kahn’s Architectural Legacy: The Ubiquitous Mr. Kahn
Apr. 5 (Sat.) 1pm
In the first half of the 20th century, Detroit architect Albert Kahn revolutionized the design of industrial buildings around the world. This presentation, with Joel Stone, senior curator for the Detroit Historical Society, examines Kahn’s career and the vast legacy of architectural treasures he created for the people of Detroit.
1920: The Year of Six Presidents
Apr. 6 (Sun.) 2pm
David Pietrusza, presidential historian, tells the story of the presidential election of 1920, when six once-and-future presidents—Wilson, Harding, Coolidge, Hoover, and Teddy and Franklin Roosevelt—had influence on the race for the White House, the results were broadcast on the radio, and women voted for the first time.
The Great Inflation in Germany
Apr. 10 (Thur.) 12pm
Gary Flemming, Ph.D., professor of international studies at Macomb Community College, discusses hyperinflation in post-World War I Germany, which peaked when one trillion marks were equal to one dollar, and makes the case that this hyperinflation contributed to the start of the Great Depression in the U.S.
Tiger Hitters Roar in the 1920s
Apr. 11 (Fri.) 11am
The Tigers’ hitting performance during the 1920s was the greatest in team history, and yet they didn’t win a pennant during the decade. William M. Anderson, Ph.D., founding director of the Michigan Department of History, Arts and Libraries, and baseball historian, tells tales of the Tigers of the 1920s, including highlights of Ty Cobb’s managerial career.
The KKK in Michigan in the 1920s: An Overview
Apr. 12 (Sat.) 1pm
Michael V. Placco, professor of history at Macomb Community College, will offer an overview of the Ku Klux Klan in Michigan during the 1920s, including why the organization came to such prominence and size, and the role it played in the backlash from the Progressive Era.
The Making of Black Detroit in the Age of Henry Ford
Apr. 23 (Wed.) 11am
Beth Bates, Ph.D., professor emeritus at Wayne State University, traces allegiances within Detroit’s African American community as reflected in its opposition to the Ku Klux Klan, challenges to unfair housing practices, and demands for effective political participation. She demonstrates how Henry Ford and his company helped kindle the civil rights movement in Detroit without intending to do so.
The U.S. Economy in the Late 1920s
Apr. 24 (Thur.) 11am
Mark L. Trueman, instructor of economics at Macomb Community College, discusses the economic climate leading up to the infamous stock market crash of 1929, including the Florida real estate boom, and the key players, companies and investment trusts of the era, and reveals some facts vs. fiction.
Splish, Splash, Boom: The Early History of Radio Theatre
Apr. 25 (Fri.) 11am and 1pm
Before television, radio theater captured the imaginations of Americans across the country. Donald Ramlow, founder, director, and performer with the classic radio All Ears Theatre in Kalamazoo, describes the radio of the 1920s and demonstrates the sounds, styles, and effects of the early days of radio.
Prohibition: How Did THAT Happen?
Apr. 26 (Sat.) 1pm
Daniel Okrent, historian and author of the national bestseller Last Call, which was used as the basis for Ken Burns’ documentary, Prohibition, covers the rise and fall of that “Noble Experiment.” Okrent describes the era from start to finish, including the reasons for Prohibition, what it was like, and its impact even after its repeal in 1933.
Jazz and Blues in Detroit in the 1920s
Apr. 27 (Sun.) 2pm
Just as the city was booming in the 1920s, so was its nightlife; and jazz and blues were a major part of it. Lars Bjorn and Jim Gallert, authors of the book, Before Motown: A History of Jazz in Detroit, discuss the major artists and venues found in Detroit during the Roaring Twenties.
Black Resorts in Michigan During the “Nervous Generation”
Apr. 30 (Wed.) 11am
Benjamin Wilson, Ph.D., professor emeritus at Western Michigan University, describes how white Americans, fearful of social change, developed a paranoia in the 1920s; and how in spite of this, African Americans in Michigan developed rest and relaxation spots far from the racism of this “nervous generation,” at resorts like Idlewild, Woodland Park, and Rainbow Inn.
Real to Reel Film Series: M
May 1 (Thur.) 2pm
The 1931 German film M, set in Germany during the rise of the Nazi party, has been described as a “portrait of a diseased society.” Gary Flemming, Ph.D., professor of international studies at Macomb Community College, presents this classic film, which remains the blueprint for the psychological thriller. In German with English subtitles. (110 minutes)
Rainbow’s End: The Crash of 1929
May 3 (Sat.) 1pm
Maury Klein, Ph.D., professor emeritus at the University of Rhode Island and Pulitzer Prize finalist, explores the social, political, cultural, and economic events that led to the great crash, its relation to the Great Depression, and parallels to the Panic of 2008.
Idols of Modernity: Movie Stars of the 1920s
May 4 (Sun.) 2pm
Patrice Petro, Ph.D., professor of English and film studies at University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, and author of the book Idols of Modernity, explores key differences between cinema and stardom in the U.S. during the 1920s, and looks at the careers of both well-known and now-forgotten stars of the silent and early sound eras.
= MMII events are intended to increase knowledge, sensitivity, and skills in cross-cultural interactions. Events count toward the cultural competency certificate, a non-academic certificate awarded by Macomb Community College and MMII. For more information visit Macomb Multicultural International Initiatives.
Speakers and programs are subject to change. Events are free of charge and held in the Lorenzo Cultural Center (44575 Garfield, Clinton Twp.) unless otherwise noted.
Pre-registration is required for all events.