The Story of Eve: The Sexy Twenties Part II


The Story of Eve: Sinner, Saint and Part-time Movie Star

As films edged into the 1920s, the dreamweavers got raw. Indeed, the ’20s has been decribed as one of the most liberated of film eras. Let’s just take a peek, shall we?

Enter “Flappers:” wild thangs who liked living on the edge. These young women drank booze from silver flasks, rode with fast young in fast cars, and had sex–and plenty of it.

“The studios presented an endless stream of films about America’s flaming youth; movies in which flappers and boyfriends drove fast cars, used hip flasks and partipated in wild orgies…that lasted until dawn,” (Kenneth W. Leish, Cinema, 1974; p.45).

I know you’re asking “what’s the catch?” Did flappers die in car crashes, or wind up in poverty? Or were they cruel, heartless monsters (like Bara) who filmically sucked the life’s blood of innocent men?

The answer is none of above. About the worst thing that happened to these young women was that they got married (although there was a catch as we’ll see later).

And Hollywood didn’t stop there. The dreamweavers began to portray unfaithful wives in films such as Male and Female, Three Weeks and Don’t Change Your Husband. In these movies sex-starved wives had affairs because they weren’t getting any TLC at home. And directors depicted these liaisons as perfectly acceptable. In Three Weeks for example:

A young queen escapes from her loveless life for a brief period, during which a handsome commoner makes passionate love to her, first on a bed of roses and later on tiger skins. At the end of three weeks she returns to her people, thoroughly satisfied (Leish, 1974; p.46).

What on earth was going on? The answer lies in an economy that was booming. World War I had only recently ended. The war had generated a lot of jobs for everbody–including African American men and women and White women. The Great Migration (1910-1930)–thousands of Black folk fleeing the South for the promised land– had already begun. Hollywood’s generous attitude toward White women was a reflection of this post-war affluence.

Yet, as history has shown us, when some are enslaved there can only be so much freedom for everyone else.

Meanwhile, the first Black screen goddess made her debut in King Vidor’s musical: Hallelujah (1929).

MoMA | King Vidor’s

Hallelujah took as its theme the age old problem of Good Colored
Boy going bad and the battle between the callings of the spirit and
temptations of the flesh. The film opens on the idyllic little
Johnson farm where the family–Pappy Johnson, Mammy, their adopted
daughter Missy Rose, their eldest son Zeke, and their youngest boys
–energetically gather the cotton harvest (Bogle, 1973; pp.28-29).

To be continued…

References: Leish, K W, Cinema. 1974
Bogle, D. Toms, Coons, Mulattos, Mammies, and Bucks. 1973

Copyright Valjeanne Jeffers 2013, Valjeanne Jeffers-Thompson, 1997 all rights reserved.

Let’s Claim This Victory!!

Jeffers —

I’m writing to you on a great day for America.

This morning, I gathered with members of Congress, my administration, and hardworking volunteers from every part of the country to sign comprehensive health care reform into law. Thanks to the immeasurable efforts of so many, the dream of reform is now a reality.

The bill I just signed puts Americans in charge of our own health care by enacting three key changes:

It establishes the toughest patient protections in history.

It guarantees all Americans affordable health insurance options, extending coverage to 32 million who are currently uninsured.

And it reduces the cost of care — cutting over 1 trillion dollars from the federal deficit over the next two decades.

To ensure a successful, stable transition, many of these changes will phase into full effect over the next several years.

But for millions of Americans, many of the benefits of reform will begin this year — some even taking effect this afternoon. Here are just a few examples:

Small businesses will receive significant tax cuts, this year, to help them afford health coverage for all their employees.

Seniors will receive a rebate to reduce drug costs not yet covered under Medicare.

Young people will be allowed coverage under their parents’ plan until the age of 26.

Early retirees will receive help to reduce premium costs.

Children will be protected against discrimination on the basis of medical history.

Uninsured Americans with pre-existing conditions can join a special high-risk pool to get the coverage they need, starting in just 90 days.

Insured Americans will be protected from seeing their insurance revoked when they get sick, or facing restrictive annual limits on the care they receive.

All Americans will benefit from significant new investments to train primary care doctors, nurses, and public health professionals, and the creation of state-level consumer assistance programs to help all patients understand and defend our new rights.

As I’ve said many times, and as I know to be true, this astounding victory could not have been achieved without your tireless efforts.

So as we celebrate this great day, I want to invite you to add your name where it belongs: alongside mine as a co-signer of this historic legislation. Organizing for America will record the names of co-signers as a permanent commemoration of those who came together to make this moment possible — all of you who refused to give up until the dream of many generations for affordable, quality care for all Americans was finally fulfilled.

So, if you haven’t yet, please add your name as a proud health care reform co-signer today:

Please accept my thanks for your voice, for your courage, and for your indispensable partnership in the great work of creating change.

History, and I, are in your debt.

President Barack Obama

President Obama Keeps on Keepin On

Valjeanne —

I just finished delivering my first State of the Union, and I wanted to send you a quick note.

We face big and difficult challenges. Change on the scale we seek does not come easily. But I will never accept second place for the United States of America.

That is why I called for a robust jobs bill without delay. It’s why I proposed a small businesses tax credit, new investments in infrastructure, and pushed for climate legislation to create a clean energy economy.

It’s why we’re taking on big banks, reforming Wall Street, revitalizing our education system, increasing transparency — and finishing the job on health insurance reform.

It’s why I need your help — because I am determined to fight to defend the middle class, and special interest lobbyists will go all out to fight us.

Help me show that the American people are ready to join this fight for the middle class — add your name to a letter to Congress today:

We have finished a difficult year. We have come through a difficult decade. But we don’t quit. I don’t quit.

Let’s seize this moment — to start anew, to carry the dream forward, and to strengthen our union once more.

President Barack Obama

Senator Edward M. Kennedy Warrior & Champion of the People

“Robert Bork’s America is a land in which women would be forced into back alley
abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police
could break down citizens’ doors in midnight raids,
school children could not be taught about evolution, writers and
artists could be censored at the whim of government, and the doors
of the federal courts would be shut on the fingers of millions
of citizens of whom the judiciary is — and is often the only —
protector of the individual rights that are at the heart of our
Edward Kennedy
Rest in peace Brother. You will be missed.

The Ugly Side of Anti-Healthcare

It’s getting ugly out there.

All across the country, right-wing extremists are disrupting congressional town-hall meetings with venomous attacks on President Obama’s plans for health care and clean energy.

Last night in Tampa, Florida, a town hall meeting erupted into violence, with the police being called to break up fist fights and shoving matches.1
A Texas Democrat was shouted down by right-wing hecklers, many of whom admitted they didn’t even live in his district.2
One North Carolina representative announced he wouldn’t be holding any town-hall meetings after his office began receiving death threats.3
And in Maryland, protesters hung a Democratic congressman in effigy to oppose health-care reform.4