(NEXSTAR) – Many know that the day after Thanksgiving is referred to as “Black Friday,” but why?
While some social media posts trace the day’s roots to selling slaves the day after Thanksgiving, the Associated Press says that’s not the case.
Instead, the term “Black Friday” is first associated with a financial crash in the late 1880s.
Two investors, Jay Gould and Jim Fisk, pushed the price of gold higher, leading to a market crash on Friday, September 24, 1869, according to Business Insider. The stock market fell, foreign trade was frozen, and farmers took a hit. The day was then referred to as “Black Friday”.
It wasn’t until the 1960s, when large crowds took to the streets of Philadelphia to take advantage of in-store deals before the annual Army-Navy game, that Black Friday became associated with post-Thanksgiving shopping, according to the AP.
In a 1975 AP article, a sales manager at Gimbels department store said that on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, bus and cab drivers called because they “got a headache from it” when cops tried to control the crowd.
Because of the association between economically dark days and the term “black” like Black Friday in 1969, retailers tried to call the day “Big Friday,” reports the New York Times. Their efforts were in vain and they later reclaimed “Black Friday”, largely because the big shopping day could drive profits into the red.
Since then we have associated Black Friday with shopping. It’s also given way to names for the days after, like Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday.
Small Business Saturday was launched by American Express in 2010, according to the company. American Express was launched “in the middle of the recession” and says the day aims to “encourage people to shop small and bring more Christmas shopping to small businesses”.
According to Reader’s Digest, the term Cyber Monday was coined in 2005 by the National Retail Foundation’s senior vice president of Research and Strategic Initiatives. The NRF reportedly noticed a spike in online revenue and traffic on the Monday after Thanksgiving, believed to be caused by people shopping on their computers at work, where the internet was likely faster and their kids couldn’t see what was being bought became.
You can find some Black Friday deals here.