What were some ways consumerism and race relations changed in the 1920s and 1950s, respectively?

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The 1920s saw a major rise in consumerism. People used new media such as radio and movies to advertise products. New celebrities from movies and radio shows also helped to sell products. Sports heroes such as Babe Ruth also contributed to this advertising frenzy. In order to increase spending levels,...

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The 1920s saw a major rise in consumerism. People used new media such as radio and movies to advertise products. New celebrities from movies and radio shows also helped to sell products. Sports heroes such as Babe Ruth also contributed to this advertising frenzy. In order to increase spending levels, industry encouraged people to buy goods on credit. This large pool of personal debt would be one of the factors that led to the Great Depression at the end of the decade. Mass production also made a wide variety of goods available to the public. This decade would see the rapid expansion of the automobile industry.

The 1920s were not known for racial harmony. The decade saw the rebirth of the Ku Klux Klan as a reactionary group against the rights of black people, Jews, and Catholics. There was also a spike in lynching during the decade. Segregation was still the law of the land in many places, and many African Americans remained sharecroppers. While the decade would see the rise of the Harlem Renaissance, its affects would not be fully appreciated by many Americans living during the 1920s.

The 1950s also saw a rise in consumerism as advertisers used the new medium of television to peddle their products. While people could buy on credit, many people had savings from war bonds purchased during WWII. While there was a slight postwar recession, the decade saw a rapid increase in jobs as American industry became the most dominant producer of goods in the world. Racially, the decade held more tense change than the 1920s; for example, Brown v. Board desegregated schools leading to such tense moments as the desegregation of a high school in Little Rock, Arkansas. The decade also saw Rosa Parks arrested for holding her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama. This would lead to the Montgomery bus boycott and the slow ending of segregation in the South. This decade also saw the rise of a young minister, Martin Luther King, Jr., to prominence in the civil rights movement. He would be instrumental throughout the 1950s and 1960s in the drive for equality.

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In both the 1920s and 1950s, we had a real, sizable middle class, with money to spend and some time on their hands, so the decades share a materialist feeling in society and the money with which to buy new consumer goods.

Race relations aren't quite as similar between those two time periods, in that during the 1920s, Jim Crow segregation laws were still typical in many states, and while the Harlem Renaissance advanced black culture, very few whites in the country recognized it as a social achievement.  If anything, the 1920s were more racist than decades past, but more about immigrants than about only African-Americans.

The 1950s represented a decade of racial struggle for civil rights, with support from the Supreme Court in 1954's Brown vs. Board of Education and for the first time, support from a significant number of whites.

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The 1920s were perhaps the first really big boom time in terms of consumerism.  There were, for the first time, a huge number of consumer goods.  People had the money to buy them and there were ways (buying on credit, Sears catalog) to buy.  This led to a big boom in consumption.

The 1950s were the start of the change in race relations that would really take off in the 1960s.  It was during the 1950s that the Brown v. Board of Education case was decided.  It was also in this decade that the Montgomery Bus Boycott happened.

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