Between 1900 and 1930, thousands upon thousands of European immigrants, African-Americans, and rural Midwestern youths relocated to Chicago in search of steady work and broader social opportunities. Intrigued by their new urban surroundings, they embraced new forms of commercial culture that made social interaction in the multi-ethnic, multi-racial city easier and more enjoyable. Many of the city’s department stores, movie theaters, and amusement parks thrived by offering settings in which Chicagoans of all backgrounds could partake in city life as equals. By popularizing not just jazz music, but countless other amusements as well, Jazz Age Chicagoans laid the groundwork for the spread of mass culture across the nation during the twentieth century. This web site examines some of the ways by which this occurred.

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