This week marks 85 years since the official start of the Great Depression. For us in 2014, it’s hard to imagine what it was like to live through that period, especially when the years leading up to it were so prosperous.
Looking at photos from the day the stock market collapsed, October 29, 1929 (AKA Black Tuesday) is a bit surreal. The fear and disillusionment is obvious on people’s faces. Let’s take a quick walk through history.
As the saying goes: “Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.”
Starting October 24th, 1929, the U.S. stock market began to wildly fluctuate. This was the beginning of the collapse.
By October 29th, the market had fully collapsed. It was so bad that it was dubbed “Black Tuesday.”
Many people were caught off guard by this sudden collapse, as preceding years were good for the market.
At this point, people knew things were going to be bad. But they had no idea how bad.
Some people lost everything in the stock market that day. They had to make some tough choices.
Others took another way out. This is one stock trader who jumped to his death after losing everything on Black Tuesday.
This is the floor of stock market on Black Tuesday. It was chaos.
The collapse absolutely destroyed consumer confidence in the economy, which impacted consumer spending and further accelerated the downward spiral.
Although it took until fall 1930 for the first bank to fail, there was a run on banks with people trying to withdraw their savings.
This is a shanty town that sprung up in Central Park in New York City during the early years of the Depression.
Jobs were scarce during this time. Here are hundreds of men lined up to apply for just a single position.
At the same time, the midwest was also devastated by severe drought and dust storms known collectively as “The Dust Bowl.” Here is a dust storm blowing in over the National Mall in Washington D.C. in 1935.
In the years following the stock market collapse, sights like this were increasingly common.
It would take until 1932 and the election of FDR for meaningful reforms to be implemented to combat the Depression.
I really feel for this man. His sign is heartbreaking.
I can’t even imagine the desperation and helplessness that these people felt during the Depression. Let’s take this as a lesson and remember to appreciate how good we have it.