October 29th, 1929, coined Black Tuesday, was the most devastating day in the Wall Street Crash of 1929, which to this day is the worst stock market crash in United States history.
The Crash marked the start of a decade long economic depression which has become famously known as The Great Depression.
As employers began to lay off workers to meet financial demands, the national average unemployment rate jumped from just 3% to 25%.
With few available jobs, workers sought out any opportunity for pay, despite safety hazards.
Birth rate fell as families held off from raising additional children and women entered the labor force.
Meanwhile in the Mid-U.S., agricultural industries suffered as drought and poor farming methods caused uncontrollable dust storms which destroyed farmlands. This period became known as The Dust Bowl.
The Dust Bowl forced countless workers out of the midwest in search of agricultural work in more prosperous areas.
Perhaps the most iconic and symbolic image of the time period is this photo of Florence Owens Thompson, Migrant Mother.
Migrant workers typically resorted to living out of vehicles or in tented camps.
As the homeless population escalated uncontrollably, shantytowns known as Hoovervilles, named after then-president Herbert Hoover, began popping up near urban areas.
The Great Depression was not limited to the U.S. alone–economic depression was simultaneously being experienced in all of the industrialized Western world.
Low employment caused turmoil between the U.S. government and the working immigrant population in the U.S. which at this time saw more emigrants leaving the country than immigrants arriving to it.
Despite relief efforts during the Hoover administration, the reforms needed to completely resolve these economic hardships did not arrive until Franklin D. Roosevelt’s presidency in 1934.
With expensive entertainment out of the question, people found solace in local gatherings and viewing cheap movies also funded by the WPA.
After controversial political shifts in response to the Depression, World War II begins, effectively recruiting the unemployed population and ending the 10 years of economic strife.