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The Good, The Bad and The Depressing side of White & "Black" Wall Street During the 1900s

Updated on January 10, 2016

The early 1900s was a revoluntionary time in America, it was a time of great financial gain but also of great failure. A lot of companies grew, Industries being born and history being made; and at that time what was known as Wall Street was huge. This article takes you into the world of Wall Street and its becoming's.

"Wall Street" is known as the home of the New York Stock Exchange. Historically it is the headquarters of the largest U.S. brokerages and Investment banks. Today, the southern tip of lower Manhattan is considered New York's Financial district which covers, Wall Street, The NY Stock Exchange and Battery Park. The Stock Exchange, also known as The Stock Market Exchange is a means for buyers and sellers to trade shares of stock in companies.These trades are done from within and around the world. It is said that The First Stock Exchange in America was founded in Philadelphia, in the year 1790. So by the early 1900s Wall Street was on its way to being well established.


John Piermont Morgan was one of the most powerful bankers of his time. He financed railroads and helped organize U.S Steel and General Electric. Being the son of a rich banker, he followed in his fathers footsteps and started involving himself with central banking and financing. In 1901, he created a billion dollar merger for U.S Steel Corporation. This was Epic, Wall Street was impressed. But the years ahead would be tough. Shortly after, Wall Street noticed a decline in stock prices and was almost forced to suffer a collapse in 1907. J.P. Morgan stepped in and set up a single banking trust, with other banks across the U.S. contributing to its financing; where Morgan's own group had controlling interest. In 1929, The Market Crashed and economic value had reached an all time low. The World Experienced what was Called "THE GREAT DEPRESSION". This didn't only affect Wall Street but businesses and industries were directly hit; this was a world wide recession. Unemployment, went sky high and families began to feel the fatal burdens, which lasted over a decade. Where it is said that the stock exchange lost up to 12.9 million shares of stock in one day. After Franklin D. Rooverselt took office, he closed the banks until things were stablized, and started opening programs to get people back on their feet. The U.S. really felt a major turn around after the bombing of Pearl Habor. In 1933, The U.S. began its road to recovery. During the 1950s there weren't many people who invested in the Stock Market at that time, frankly because they were frightened at the changes that took place years ahead. But the 1970s was a great time for Wall Street. In 1971, Merrill Lynch became the first member organization of the NY Stock Exchange. Merrill Lynch is the Worlds largest brokerage. And even though Wall Street and the world would experience another recession years later. Today in the 21st cenutry Wall Street is flourishing.

"Black Wall Street

On the flip side of things there were a lot of areas that flourished successfully in monetary gain during the 1900s. The state of Tulsa, Oklahoma; which was originally Indian Terrority, was a prime example of that. In 1905, The City of Glenpool was known for its discovery of an Oil field and workers started developing the land to be used for gas, petroleum and so much more.Tulsa, Oklahoma was receiving great notary within the U.S. Meanwhile, The community of Greenwood began to rapidly increase with more African Americans traveling to Tulsa and it quickly became the home of prominent black business men and women; which thrived and reached great economic height.The city mounted to an increasing scale and was known as The "Black Wall Street". By the year 1921 there was about 10, 000 blacks residing in the city. This was a time of great growth for African Americans but it was still evident that racism was very much alive. Tension rose, and whites and blacks were in opposition with each other over an alleged rape within the city. In the same year of 1921 The Tulsa Race Riot broke out, where buildings we were burned to the ground. The area which was called "Black Wall Street" was bombed from the air and the affluent all black community was hit reaching over 36 blocks. Up to 3,000 black people died, including the ruins of a post office, 2 black owned movie theaters, 600 successful businesses, 21 churches, 30 grocery stores, schools and so much more.

After the riots. Those who were left in the community tried to rebuild and restablish the schools and store as before. The town never fully regained itself as the " Black Wall Street". In 1995, The Greenwood Cultural Center was dedicated to honor the victims of The Tulsa Race Riot, which stands today. This is a story of our history during the 1900's.

Source from History.com, Google, and Wikipedia

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