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Black Friday takes place each year the day after Thanksgiving. Photo: Unsplash.
Black Friday takes place each year the day after Thanksgiving. Photo: Unsplash.

Where did the term, Black Friday, come from? It has roots in Philadelphia

The popular day after Thanksgiving originally had nothing to do with retail or shopping.

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Throughout the duration of our lives, we have associated “Black Friday” with the post-Thanksgiving holiday shopping frenzy that often ensues.

Many look forward to this day each year to take advantage of various discounts on everyday quality items.

However, the term “Black Friday” was first used in reference to the crash of the U.S. gold market back in September 1869.

That year, two Wall Street financiers, Jay Gould and Jim Fisk, worked together to buy up gold with the goal of driving up the price and selling it for profits.

However, everything later unraveled, sending the stock market into a free-fall, bankrupting everyone and leaving the nation to go through several months of economic turmoil.

While that was the first documented instance of “Black Friday” being used, the term resurfaced in the 1950s right here in the City of Brotherly Love. 

Philadelphia Police would use the term to describe the chaos that would often take place in the city the day after Thanksgiving. 

In addition to holiday shopping, suburban tourists would flood into the city to attend the annual Army-Navy football game.

As a result, Philly officers would often have to work extra-long shifts to deal with the increased traffic and additional crowds. Subsequently, shoplifters would take advantage of the bedlam in the stores and start looting merchandise.

This added yet another layer to the law enforcement’s hectic days. 

The term, however, didn’t really catch on to the rest of the nation until the mid-to-late 1980s. 

By then, the narrative surrounding “Black Friday” had been shifted to signify the boost in retail sales merchants would get as a result of the biggest shopping day of the year; effectively turning their profits from red to black. 

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