Why do we call it Black Friday?


(NEXSTAR) – Many know the day after Thanksgiving is referred to as “Black Friday,” but why?

While some social media posts attribute the day’s roots as dating back to the practice of selling off slaves the day after Thanksgiving, the Associated Press says that isn’t the case.

Instead, the term “Black Friday” is first linked to a financial crash in the late 1880s.

Two investors, Jay Gould and Jim Fisk, drove up the price of gold, which lead to a market crash on Friday, September 24, 1869, according to Business Insider. The stock market dropped, foreign trade was put on hold, and farmers took a hit. The day was then dubbed “Black Friday.”

It wasn’t until the 1960s when large crowds took to the streets of Philadelphia before the annual Army-Navy game to take advantage of sales at stores that Black Friday was associated with shopping after Thanksgiving, according to the AP.

In a 1975 article from the AP, a sales manager at Gimbels department store said bus and cab drivers called the day after Thanksgiving Black Friday because of the “headaches it gives them” as police officers tried to control the crowds.

Because of the association between economic dark days and the term “black,” like Black Friday 1969, retailers tried calling the day “Big Friday,” The New York Times reports. Their efforts were futile and they later reclaimed “Black Friday,” largely because the major shopping day could boost profits out of the red.

Ever since, we have associated Black Friday with shopping. It has also given way to names for the days after it, like Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday.

Small Business Saturday was created in 2010 by American Express, according to the company. Launched “in the midst of the recession,” American Express explains the day is intended to “encourage people to Shop Small and bring more holiday shopping to small businesses.”

According to Reader’s Digest, the term Cyber Monday was coined in 2005 by the senior vice president of research and strategic initiatives for the National Retail Foundation. The NRF reportedly noticed a spike in online revenue and traffic on the Monday after Thanksgiving, which was believed to be caused by people shopping on their computers at work where the Internet was likely faster and their children couldn’t see what was being bought.

You can find some Black Friday deals here.

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