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Lorenzo Cultural Center features the Roaring Twenties: From Riches to Rags

– Thursday, February 13, 2014 12:00AM

Series of events and exhibits explore nation's transition into the modern age

The Great War was over, and everything was changing in the America of the 1920s. More Americans lived in cities than on farms, the nation’s wealth doubled and women not only won the vote but were entering the white-collar workforce in large numbers.

The Roaring Twenties: From Riches to Rags examines the dramatic break between American’s past and future from Feb. 22 through May 4 at the Lorenzo Cultural Center. The program series offers nearly 40 free events, including presentations from local and national experts and authors, as well as exhibits and video showings. The series kicks off on Saturday, Feb. 22, with a 1 p.m. presentation by journalist, educator and popular cultural center presenter Jack Lessenberry, who will describe Detroit of the 1920s, with its booming population, burgeoning auto industry and role as gateway to 75 percent of the illegal liquor entering the country during prohibition.

 “In many ways, it was during the 1920s when modern American society really started to take shape,” said Christine Guarino, director of cultural affairs and community engagement, Macomb Community College. “The Lorenzo Cultural Center’s Roaring Twenties series highlights the enduring impact of the artistic, social and technological changes of the decade, looking at the times from local through international perspectives.”

Other program highlights include:

  • Real to Reel film series: Scarface (1932), Feb. 27;Wings (1927 – silent), April 3; M (1931), May 1.
  • Women of the 1920s: Michigan Women of the 1920s, Feb. 26, with Emily Fijol, Michigan Women’s Historical Center; The Flapper, the Feminist, the New (and True) Woman, March 16, with Katherine H. Adams, Loyola University.
  • Prohibition and organized crime: The Silent Syndicate, March 1, with journalist and author Scott M. Burnstein; Prohibition in Detroit, March 12, with author Armando Delicato; Detroit’s Infamous Purple Gang, April 4, with author Paul R. Kavieff; Prohibition: How did THAT Happen?, April 26, with historian and author Daniel Okrent.
  • Race relations: The KKK in Michigan in the 1920s, April 12, with Michael V. Placco, professor of history, Macomb Community College; The Making of Black Detroit in the Age of Henry Ford, April 23, with Beth Bates, Ph.D., professor emeritus, Wayne State University; Black Resorts in Michigan during the “Nervous Generation,” April. 30, with Benjamin Wilson, professor emeritus, Western Michigan University.
  • Arts and architecture: Art Deco in Detroit, March 8, with writer and preservationist Rebecca Binno Savage; Big Band Beginnings, March 15, performance by Hotel Savarine Society Orchestra; Art Deco: Art and Architecture, March 19, with Michael Farrell of Art House Lectures and Tours; F. Scott Fitzgerald, His Life and Craft, March 26, with Robert Carlson, Eclectic Lectures; Music of the Jazz Age, March 29, with John Bowditch, director emeritus of exhibits, Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum; Albert Kahn’s Architectural Legacy, April 5, with Joel Stone, senior curator for Detroit Historical Society; Jazz and Blues in Detroit in the 1920s, April 27, with authors Lars Bjorn and Jim Gallert.

Presentations are free but require preregistration at or by calling 586.445.7348. A complete schedule of events is available here.

The Roaring Twenties program series also features exhibits, including The Roaring Twenties: From Riches to Rags, which includes photos, timelines, images and artifacts, including three vehicles: a 1921 Model T Ford, a 1931 Model A Ford Deluxe Roadster and a 1920s fire engine built on a Model T frame. A speakeasy room will include artifacts loaned from several area museums will include a poker table used in a gambling hall in Mount Clemens, speakeasy membership cards, flasks, bottles and poker chips. The room also will have information about prohibition, organized crime, gambling and Detroit’s Purple Gang. Also on exhibit will be The Power of Refined Beauty: Photographing Women for Pond’s, 1920s-1950s, showcasing advertisements and photographs; We Don’t Want Them: Race and Housing the Metropolitan Detroit, 1900-1968, featuring reproductions of documents and photographs tracing the history, causes and effects of residential segregation in Detroit; and Welcome to Idlewild: The Black Eden of Michigan, highlighting the history of the northwestern Michigan resort, the most popular Midwest resort in the 1920s, through photographs, interpretive banners and a reproduction of an Idewild history quilt. Exhibits are free and don’t require advance registration to view.

The Lorenzo Cultural Center is open 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Wednesday -Saturday and 1- 4 p.m. Sundays. School and group tours are available. For more information or to register, visit or call 586.445.7348.

About The Lorenzo Cultural Center

The Lorenzo Cultural Center ( explores the influences and experiences that shape our community's heritage, examining topics from a variety of perspectives and creating interactive opportunities for learning, celebration and entertainment. Located on Macomb Community College's Center Campus, Hall and Garfield roads in Clinton Township, the cultural center is adjacent to the Macomb Center for Performing Arts.

About Macomb Community College

Macomb Community College ( is one of the nation’s leading community colleges, providing learning experiences to nearly 48,000 students annually. Macomb nationally ranks in the top two percent in the number of associate degrees awarded by community colleges and as the largest grantor of associate degrees in Michigan. The college’s comprehensive educational programming includes pre-collegiate experiences, university transfer and career preparation programs, bachelor degree completion and graduate degree programs, workforce training, professional education and certification, and continuing education and enrichment opportunities.

Media Contact: James Melton, 586.445.7271,