...I would go back to the 1920s. I'm going to talk mostly about what went down in American history and why I would choose this decade to visit. Let's begin!
The first thing that comes to mind when I think about this decade are the cultural revolutions. Black pride really emerged with the arrival of the Harlem Renaissance. This ethnic explosion dealing with African American art, music, and literature fueled black nationalism and spurred the creations of certain organizations. A good example would be UNIA. Led by Marcus Garvey, the organization served to promote racial pride and, more interestingly, the desire for an independent nation in Africa for the black community currently residing in America. Marcus Garvey was also the leader of a movement called Pan-Africanism and therefore wanted to separate African Americans from white American society, hence the other goal of his organization. He wanted to do something about the ever growing racism and discrimination white people constantly enforced on his people. He spread knowledge by creating his own newspaper source, and a shipping company, dedicated to transporting African Americans back to Africa. Before he could pursue this goal, though, he was indicted for mail fraud and was deported to Jamaica. Although I think that his goals were incredulous and would have never worked, I think this whole situation and more shows the growing black pride within America. Even though there was still a lot of discrimination against the group, I believe there was some progress made, when society as a whole accepted African American culture. A prime example was jazz music, smoothly integrated into American society. Some white people did want to stop racial violence towards ethnic groups. The NAACP was created for just that purpose. What's great, though, is that the founders were both white and black people. They worked together to found the organization and sought to relieve lynching and racism towards all diverse groups, but mostly they aimed towards African Americans. To travel back in time and to experience these changes in the communities would be life changing. I would have especially loved to visit the New York neighborhood of Harlem, where this incredible restructuring took place.
Some of the best known literature arose during this time period as well. After WW1, many writers and artists were disillusioned with the American values, such as the American Dream. America had lost its innocence after the war and many people were unhappy with what the USA essentially was. Many of these writers and artists therefore moved to Paris to escape. There they found a lot of inspiration and they produced some of the most brilliant works. For instance, The Great Gatsby and The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway in 1926 and The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald in 1925 are just a couple examples. So, adding to cultural and literary movements initiated and experienced by African Americans, white society also had an incredible literary revolution. To be the first generation to experience the new artwork and read the new style of poetry would be amazing.
The flapper movement was stunning as well. During WWI, men went to fight in the war and therefore women had to replace them job-wise. This boosted morale and self-importance within women, because they were part of the war effort even though they weren't physically fighting in the war, and, more importantly, their contributions to the war were a factor to the gratification of women's suffrage. Women's suffrage had been a long, long battle, and they finally received the right to vote by Congress in 1920. After the war there was a sense of freedom and ability to break out of the social norms and also to express the individual any way they desired to, and women really embodied these feelings and, as you can say, "rebelled" against orthodox stereotypes and restrictions against women. Women were expected to stay home, take care of the family, stay loyal to her husband, and wear unshowy clothing, and of course, keep their long hair. I believe the flapper movement was most characterized as women "bobbing", or in other words, cutting short, their hair. Again, women were essentially exposed to new ideas and better ways of living, and therefore wanted to break free from the chains of conservative society. Besides the bobbing of the hair, women started to smoke, have casual sex with men, wore shorter skirts and heavier makeup, and showed their disdain for conventional behavior that was expected of them back then. They really were the opposite of what was acceptable of a woman. Which is what makes this movement so special. There may have been movements similar to the flapper movement before the 1920s, but there definitely wasn't any that was as big or influential in American society. Of course, there were anti-flappers of both genders who believed that women should stay in their roles, but a lot of women collaborated together and participated in the look. It was a statement - that they weren't going to stay silent anymore. They may have just been given the right to vote but there was still a long way to go, equality-wise, and of course women being objectified and stereotyped, all of these issues which are still prominent today.
The 1920s were also the time period where America developed into the nation that is still what it is today. That's right - America became a consumer society. People were excited to buy all the new, stylish inventions, including the Ford automobile and upgraded kitchen appliances. Consumerism in the United States really were a product of all the economic prosperity they had in the 1920s. Technical advances, new creative ideas, and greater supply led to the production of objects that were attractive to the American eye, so much so that people were willing to go into debt, just to buy a Model T or a radio for entertainment purposes. American society changed from buying only what was necessary to buying what was desired. Of course, this idea of buying for recreation started around the Industrial Revolution in the late 19th century where production was made efficient and therefore more supply was created, but consumerism really started in this decade where more luxurious items were being produced.
Again, in the 1920s there was a lot of racial tension but I believe that a lot of individuals banded together to try to solve the issue, and many other social problems. The collaboration of people from different groups was rare back then and would have been great to experience personally. America also adapted the consumerism ideology which greatly and positively affected the economy.
Unfortunately, this period of social revolutions, reform, and cultural expansion came to an end with the start of the Great Depression in 1929. It had been a great run for the United States up to that point, where they really grew as a nation.
Thanks for reading!