24 October 1929

“Black Thursday” on the New York Stock Exchange.

“Black Thursday” refers to the events of October 24, 1929, which marked the beginning of the Great Depression, one of the most severe economic crises in the history of the United States. This was not the official start of the Great Depression, but it is often seen as the day that triggered a series of events leading to the stock market crash of 1929.

Stock Market Crash: On October 24, 1929, the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) experienced a severe and unprecedented stock market crash. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, which is a widely followed measure of stock market performance, fell by a significant margin during the day.

Panic Selling: The crash was primarily driven by panic selling. Investors, large and small, rushed to sell their stocks as uncertainty and fear gripped the market. This rapid selling caused stock prices to plummet.

Magnitude of the Decline: The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped by almost 12% on Black Thursday, making it one of the largest single-day percentage declines in the history of the stock market.

Impact on the Economy: The events of Black Thursday were a prelude to the Great Depression, which saw a prolonged period of economic hardship, high unemployment, and widespread poverty. The stock market crash of 1929 was a major contributing factor to the economic downturn that followed.

Chain Reaction: The crash triggered a chain reaction of events, including further stock market declines, bank failures, and a reduction in consumer spending, which in turn deepened the economic crisis.

Government Response: In the aftermath of Black Thursday, the U.S. government took several actions to stabilize the economy, including the creation of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to regulate the securities industry and the passage of the Glass-Steagall Act to reform the banking sector.

Long-Term Consequences: The Great Depression that followed Black Thursday lasted for nearly a decade, with its effects felt not only in the United States but also around the world. It fundamentally changed the way governments and financial institutions approached economic and financial regulation.