During and despite the Great Depression, the entertainment industry was working overtime. The roughest years in American history produced what many consider the greatest era of popular music. Elliot Majerczyk (Virginia Foundation for the Humanities) looks at the songs that became the soundtrack of the ‘lost generation’ and helped pull America through the hard times. He says that given the state of the economy, we may get to hear more songs like these in the near future. Also: Nigel Sellars (Christopher Newport University) and Eric Rauchway explain that Roosevelt’s New Deal originally focused on regulation and stimulating the industrial economy. It was not until 1935 when the Second New Deal began putting millions of people to work that most Americans felt relief from the Great Depression.
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Dr. Sellars was my prof while I was at CNU. He is a great man and he and his wife Nancy have both become wonderful friends. He was a caring professor that I knew I could go to, but who would also still be fair.
The Depression is certainly not one of the bright spots of history, but it was very important because, like any tragedy, it shows us what we really would do in the worst case scenario and gives the chance for the best in humanity to shine through. One of the key things about history I learned in Dr. Sellar’s and the other CNU professors’ classes is that the details tell us more about people and their mindset than any “great” chronicle. The themes of best-selling novels, the most popular songs or lyrics, the most common foods, even how women wore their hair or adjusted their hemlines all tell us about the psychology/sociology behind the “big” events and periods of history.