While nothing to celebrate, October did mark the 88th anniversary of the historic Black Tuesday stock-market crash that launched the Great Depression.
Few alive today were adults during the worst of the nation’s most devastating and prolonged economic disaster, but members of what Charles “Colonel” Kindred, 96, refers to as the Depression Generation remain. They were teenagers during the 1930s and couldn’t help but be influenced by the hard times.
The jaunty era of the Roaring Twenties seemingly came to an abrupt end as investments were wiped out overnight Oct. 29, 1929, when Wall Street’s markets collapsed. Certainly, there were others factors at play, and many economists still argue about what caused the Great Depression, but there’s no debate about the devastation it wrought here and abroad.
The newspapers wrote about the newly bankrupt committing suicide by jumping out of windows and of banks locking their doors, swallowing the life savings of rich and poor alike. Unable to pay their debts, people lost their homes, their farms, and other businesses with few, if any, avenues to recoup those losses.
During the 1930s, 9,000 banks closed — including an estimated 4,000 in 1933 alone, the worst year of the Great Depression.
Kindred, of Smithville, recalls, as a boy in 1931, walking home one night through the small town. He stopped to see why several people were reading a notice…