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How Black Friday Got Its Start and Name

How Black Friday Got Its Start and Name
(Juan Moyano/Dreamstime)

By    |   Tuesday, 21 November 2017 01:35 PM

How Black Friday got its start and name are common questions as the holiday shopping season approaches, and various myths and theories persist.

The Friday after Thanksgiving is commonly believed to have gotten its name from retailers who counted on robust holiday sales to turn a profit, also known as being in the black.

But, according to Readers Digest, Black Friday has no ties to holiday shopping.

The origins can be traced to Philadelphia in the 1950s and '60s when large crowds of people would descend upon the town for the annual Army-Navy football game held after Thanksgiving, Readers Digest said.

Businesses thrived on the large groups gathering in the streets, however, the hive of activity also meant extra traffic and increased criminal activity, making it a notoriously tough time for police who actually used the term to describe the chaos.

"Black Friday was used as a term — it was not a happy term," said retail scholar Michael Lisicky, according to CBS Philly. "The stores were just too crowded, the streets were crowded, the buses and the police were just on overcall and extra duty."

The term cast a shadow on businesses, so it was rebranded, the station noted.

Retailers began to refer to "Black Friday" as the start of the Christmas shopping season. The term came to imply that stores began to generate profits from sales, which were marked in black ink on accounting records, BlackFriday.com noted.

The History channel noted that while this version remains the most widely accepted story of how Black Friday came about, another myth has emerged suggesting an uglier twist.

According to the report, it has been alleged that southern plantation owners may have been able to buy slaves at a discounted rate on the day after Thanksgiving during the 1800s, although there is no factual basis to these claims.

The term is also linked to a September Friday in 1869 when the U.S. gold market crashed.

In the 1980s retailers turned Black Friday into a clever marketing tool that had positive connotations, History noted. Since then the concept has thrived, transforming into a tradition closely linked to the holiday season.

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How Black Friday got its start and name are common questions as the holiday shopping season approaches, and various myths and theories persist.
black friday, start, name, history
360
2017-35-21
Tuesday, 21 November 2017 01:35 PM
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