About the Show
With stories in each of our shows – 10thirtysix, Adelante, and Black Nouveau – we will share the thoughts and definitions of the American Dream from the perspective of the people in our community.
You will see people living their dream, working for their dream, or striving to improve the dreams of others.
James Truslow Adams coined the term in a book in 1931, The Epic of America, which came out two years after the great depression - meaning he was writing during times of great national hardship. Of course he was considering the words of our Founding Fathers in the Declaration of
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men were created equal,
that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,
among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
People were lining up outside of soup kitchens, and unemployment lines--more than just people living with chronic poverty too. It was also educated and successful people who had lost it all. Not unlike the 2009 recession or the pandemic hardships of 2020. But the book hit a nerve and became a bestseller. Adams established a link between the moment the nation was living and America’s core values as expressed in the Declaration of Independence. He took an ideal, a vision, and gave it a name. A name that would encompass the allure, the charm and the mythology of these United States.
As we continue to live through the COVID pandemic, as we navigate through the continued struggle of racial equality and justice, and as we debate as to who can best lead us through these times – on national, state, and local levels – we feel it is time to see where the community stands on this idea (ideal) and how we define it, or how it defines us.
The American Dream is one of the core themes in our collective narrative. And while it may seem unifying, it actually means different things to different people.
Introduction to the American Dreams project.