The devastating day came to be known as Black Tuesday. Ninety years ago, on October 29, 1929, the U.S. stock market crashed, signaling the start of the Great Depression, a period of severe economic decline that lasted for about a decade. 

Over the next few years, the economy sank. Businesses closed. Banks ran out of money. Many people lost their life savings. By 1933, a quarter of Americans were unemployed. Workers who were able to keep their jobs often found that their salaries were cut drastically. Long lines of hungry people waiting for bread or a free meal became a common sight. 

Many Americans, including kids (above), took to the streets in protest, demanding relief for the unemployed—as well as aid for basic needs, such as food and shelter. 

By 1939, the worst of the Depression years were over. But it wasn’t until the U.S. entered World War II (1939-1945) in 1941 that the economy really strengthened, a change spurred by rapid industrial growth.