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Black Friday History

by Lauren Shaul on November 23, 2020

In this blog I will talk about how Black Friday got its name and the history behind it. Today it is the busiest time of year for many retailers making huge discounts, but how did it all start?

The first use of the term “black Friday” was applied to the crash of the US gold market on September 24, 1869. Two wall street financiers, Jay Gould and Jim Fisk, worked together to buy up as much of the nation’s gold as they could. They hoped to drive up the price, so they could sell it with massive profits. On that Friday in September, the conspiracy had unravelled, sending the stock market to plummet and bankrupting everyone. It was not until years later that the post-Thanksgiving period became associated with the name.

In the 1950s police officers in Philadelphia were the first to link Black Friday to the post-Thanksgiving period. There were large crowds of shoppers and tourists that came into the city after thanksgiving. This created chaos, traffic jams and shoplifting opportunities. Police officers in the city had to work through this and were not allowed to take the day off. They had to work long shifts to control the carnage, therefore using the term “Black Friday” to refer to it.

The first advertisement with Black Friday written on was published in 1966 by The American Philatelist magazine. The term was commonly known across the nation by the late 1980s. Black Friday is now the USA’s biggest shopping event of the year, when many retailers cut their prices on a range of products. Whilst this year may be different with discounts online only due to lockdown, it will still be as busy as ever. Remember shop local and support small businesses!