The Great Depression affected Alabama by devastating farming businesses and the manufacturing industries in larger cities such as Birmingham. The beginning of the Great Depression as far as Alabama is concerned had no official start date. Many things led up to the financial devastation, and some historians believe that the boll weevil infestation of 1920 was the catalyst that led to the area's harsh economic fall.
The boll weevil infestation affected around 207,000 cotton farms, most of which were run by tenant farmers. Because the weevils were destroying the cotton crops, cotton stock prices fell drastically.
As time went on, employment in the non-farming industries plummeted. For example, Birmingham went from having 100,000 people employed full-time to only 15,000 in a short period.
Even though there were many charitable organizations trying to help the people of Alabama between 1929 and 1933, they were overwhelmed by the sheer number of people who needed them.
To add to the problem, the L&N railroad expelled 27,200 transients from the state who were illegally riding freight trains. This action tore apart families because nearly half of those people were in their teens. They were found trying to either leave the state or enter via train by detectives working for the railroad.