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During 19th
and 20 centuries, there are many Americans who created American Popular Culture.

They shaped and created American history with their career. Four votes that I would like their name to
be on the mountainside are Zora Neale Hurston, Irving Berlin, Scott
Joplin, and Carl Van Vechten. First person is Zora Neale Hurston. She grew up
in black community in southern town of Eatonville, Florida. She grew up to play
“Harlem Renaissance,” which is a movement of black writes (Taylor& Austen,
p.261.) Hurston was interested in minstrelsy because she realized
that the show represented black folk. In 1925, she started playing “Meet the
Mamma” and a blackface “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” She stated playing Broadway in
black review called “Fast and Furious,” which produced in 1931. After that, she
turned to what she called ” a program of original Negro folklore” (Taylor&
Austen, p.264.) for her next performance called The Great Day in 1932. It was
her first real success and got a good review from New York newspaper since the
show wasn’t script. Those works that she had done was the root in black
folklore and culture, so the minstrel show made Black people in Hollywood had
jobs at that time. Huston was sophisticated and elegant in black race and ethnicity
due to her idea of black identity was shared with black minstrelsy. On the
other hand, Hurston despised white minstrelsy since she wrote an essay that ”
You Don’t Know Us Negroes” because white people— including Charlotte
Mason were unconscionable and portrayed of blacks. She was fight for blacks
race by creating her writing and performance. She was a great person that
American history should inscribe.

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Second person is Irving Berlin who
was an American piano player, composer, and lyricist. He was one of the
greatest songwriter in American history since he wrote, ” I love piano.” His
family is immigrant family from Russia who escape the region’s banishment of
Jewish community. In 1907, he composed his first song called ” Marie from Sunny
Italy”, and his famous songs are ” Alexander’s Ragtime Band, What’ll I do and
White Christmas.” According to Irving Berlin, his song called “Alexander’s
Ragtime Band” or nickname was “King of Tin Pan Alley” was released in 1911.

Berlin had taught himself the piano, and he has never learned how to read
music. Nevertheless, he composed many songs in 20th century. He was
intelligent of playing and composing music. Moreover, He also was an owner of
the Music Box Theatre on Broadway. He started writing musicals called ” Watch
Your Step” in 1914. In late 1900s, there was a show, which had black and white
people performed. There were Black English and White English, and people always
laughed when they spoke in British accent instead of American accent. African
American used noun instead of verb or adjective as a verb because they tried to
use slang word. At that time, slang words were sort of formal languages; for
example, in “On the Run,” slang was more modern and more interesting. White,
Black, Jewish, and Italian always used slang (Corey, Lecture.) After Berlin
became American citizen in 1916 which is during World War I, he wrote the
musical called “Yip! Yip! Yaphank” which refer to Army fund-raiser as well.

Third person is Scott Joplin. He was
a piano player and rock n roll guitar player. He was a great musician since he
wrote ” Maple Leaf Rag” in 1899s (Corey, Lecture.) Because Joplin grew up in
musician family, he knew how to play guitar and piano since he was young. Not
only those instruments, Joplin was a vocalist and played the cornet as well. When
he was ten, he travelled and played music as his career. Scott Joplin could be
a significant American musician since he involved in American music industry
and history. According to Scott Joplin states that his famous
work was Maple Leaf Rag in1899, and it became the biggest ragtime song with
selling more than a million copies which made him have a lot of money to spend
the rest of his life. Maple Leaf Rag was ragtime musical and made Joplin became
a “King of Ragtime.” After his death, this masterpiece brought it back in 1970s
again by well-known artists. It indicated that his work was really popular, and
many people would like to revival again for next generation. In order to focus
ragtime works, he composed more works such as The Entertainer, Euphonic Sounds,
The Ragtime Dance, Cleopha, Solace, Peacherine Rag, and Heliotrope Bouquet.

Moreover, Joplin was interested in making Opera. Due to his work referred to
African American, he got disparage from White people’s comment. He wasn’t give
up, and he created Treemonisha in 1907 which represent story of a rural African
American. Scott Joplin was an important African American musician since he
tried to produce his works by relating African American culture and history of
American popular culture.

The last person is Carl Van Vechten. He was White
modern with Jazz and Blues who is really American culture. Jazz music
represented American society, and it was extremely powerful though technology.

In 1926, the first radio became more organized. There were White parents
started playing especially piano. Blues started from countryside and was
migrated to city by African American in early 20 century. Piano was very
popular in Jewish family and produced a piano business. They wrote a great
American Opera and started playing piano in the restaurant. (Corey, Lecture.) Van
Vechten has known as the Harlem Renaissance because he got award of modern
music and dance in early 20th century. According to Carl Van Vechten,

Vechten was interested in music, theater, and opera. He was first American
critic of modern dance. Also, he was a writer because he wrote an essay about
ballet. He wrote a novel called “Nigger Heaven,” which published in 1926 due to
he was interested in black artists. Not only those arts, but also he was
interested in photographing. He volunteered at the ” Stage Door Canteen” as a
serviceman during WWII. He was an artist who was able to do variety of arts and
established cultural at that time.

            In conclusion, four votes who I chose
were really influenced and involved to American Popular Culture since they shaped
culture through art and music. They invented and produced their works with
representing American historical. Their works were still well- known to people
in 21st century. Any of them might be inspire to people in our
generation since we need to learn how they created their works.  I would appreciate and admire what they have
done to American popular culture. Some of them were not born in America. Some
of them emigrated from Europe, but they still shaped American history. Therefore,
the project of mountainside is really huge and I believe that four of them are
appropriate to let their name and bibliography on the Mt. Rushmore.






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