The Great Depression : A Long Lasting Economic Downturn

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The Great Depression was a long lasting economic downturn in the history of the Western industrialized world. It all began after the stock market crashed in October of 1929. The crash sent Wall Street into a total panic that wiped out millions of investors around the country. Through out the next several years, a lot of consumer spending and investments dropped dramatically which caused huge levels of unemployment and many companies laid off their workers. By 1933 the Great Depression hit it all time low. About 13 to 15 million Americans were unemployed and roughly half of the country’s banks had failed. In “The Piano Lesson” a play that is set in the 1930’s, the characters were somewhat affected by the taking of the Great Depression. During the summer of 1929, the American economy entered a recession, which lead to slow production of products due to unsold goods. October 24,1929 was the exact day the stock market went up into smoke. Records of 12.9 million shares were traded, and this day was known as “Black Thursday.” On “Black Tuesday” exactly 5 days later about 16 million shares were traded after another wave of major fright swept Wall Street. Tons of shares ended up without any worth and all those investors who bought stocks with borrowed money were completely wiped out. The major downturn in the spending amount in the economy led to factories and other businesses to slow down production and plenty construction and eventually started firing their workers. Anyone who was lucky enough to keep their jobs, their annual pay dropped as well as buying power. There were a huge number of foreclosures and repossessions for many Americas who bought credit then fell into debt. The Depression spread from the United States throughout th... ... middle of paper ... ... In the 1930’s play “The Piano Lesson” is about two siblings a brother and sister, Boy Willie and Berniece. Their feud is over a precious family heirloom, a piano carved with pictures of their great ancestors, which were crafted by their enslaved grandfather. The Great Depression gives a historical backdrop to the play. The Great Depression and Great Migration brought many blacks north to industrial cities like Pittsburg in search of jobs. Boy Willie who wants to sell the piano that Berniece keeps in her living room, to buy land and grow crops of his own. Berniece on the other hand does not want Boy Willie to sell the piano because of its meaning to their family although it can help them get out of their current living situation. Berniece works as a house cleaner meanwhile Boy Willie and Lymon sells watermelons to meet their financial goal to buy the land.(1.1.12-18)
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