October 29: How the Stock Market Crash of 1929 Affected Black America 91 Years Ago Today

0 Posted by - October 29, 2020 - On This Date

By Victor Trammell

Photo credits: Visual Studies Workshop/Getty Images

America’s mainstream economists have contended for nearly a century that a singular, market-related disruption on Wall Street ushered in what they call the worst U.S.-based financial crisis of all time.

The stock market crash, which occurred on October 29, 1929, is often blamed for the nation’s subsequent Great Depression economic crisis, which went on for numerous years afterward. A September 2020 report published by Business Insider outlined the years-long impact that the Great Depression had on mainstream America.

“Industrial production fell by nearly 47% and gross domestic production (GDP) declined by 30%. Almost half of US banks collapsed, stock shares traded at a third of their previous value, and nearly one-quarter of the population was jobless — at a time when unemployment insurance didn’t exist,” reads Business Insider’s report by economist Ann Field.

However, as the age-old, race-based American analogy goes: “When whites catch a cold, blacks come down with the flu.”

This analogous take on reality definitely rings true when it comes to the race-based realities, which have underpinned how different ethnic groups in America have fared financially during the nation’s good and bad economic times throughout history. Germinal G. Van, a West African-born political scientist, wrote a compelling report, which focused squarely on Black America’s experience during what mainstream economists call the worst U.S.-based financial crisis of all time.

Van’s report is titled The Economic Condition of African-Americans During the Great Depression (1929-1941). In his scientific analysis, Van dissects the U.S. unemployment rate along racial lines during the first half of the 20th century. However, employment from any source other than a family-owned business is not a factor in wealth determination or preservation. Van digs deeper by pointing out the plights of black sharecroppers and America’s systemic and race-based disparities in land ownership.

“The Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA) offered white landowners cash for leaving their fields fallow, which they happily accepted; they, however, did not pass on their government checks to the black sharecroppers and tenant farmers who actually worked the land,” reads Vans report.

Read the full report published by Academic.edu by visiting here.

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