Home History & Facts Fact Check: No! ‘Black Friday’ Didn’t Originate From Slave Auctioning.

Fact Check: No! ‘Black Friday’ Didn’t Originate From Slave Auctioning.


It is said and observed that whatever we see or hear in this time and age, evolved from somewhere. They’re deep-rooted and the term ‘Black Friday’, isn’t an exception or any different.

The history of Black Friday started much earlier than people may think. Black Friday is the name given to the day following after Thanksgiving Day in the United States, which then is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November every year.

According to Associated Press, black Friday didn’t emerge from the sale of slaves. In the run-up to the Thanksgiving holiday, false claims tying the term Black Friday to the sale of slaves recirculated on Facebook and Twitter. Some of the posts included a photo available through the State Library of Victoria in Australia that shows a group of indigenous prisoners in neck chains in western Australia. The photo is dated back in 1898-1906.

A 1975 Associated Press article, quotes a sales manager at Gimbles department store who was watching a police officer try to control jaywalkers the day after Thanksgiving.

“That’s why the bus drivers and cab drivers call today Black Friday. They think in terms of headache it gives them,” she said.

Micheal Lisicky who has written many books on the history of department stores confirmed in an email that “Black Friday” was tied to Philadelphia police officers trying to control crowds after Thanksgiving.

“I have never come across the connotation that Black Friday originates from the selling of slaves, especially on the day after Thanksgiving,” Lisicky said.

Notwithstanding, when a day is heralded by the word ‘black’, that’s usually an indication that it was pretty bad; (hello, Black Sunday). Black Friday had a similar aura.

Mind you, the phrase, Black Friday had nothing to do with Christmas Shopping. It was the day gold prices declined and the effects of which were felt by the U.S for years.

The first mentions of Black Friday as we know it are said to have occurred around 1950s or ‘60s in Philadelphia coined by traffic police who dreaded that day. The police used the term to describe the chaos that ensued a day after Thanksgiving, when hordes of suburban shoppers and tourists flooded into the city in advance of the big Army-Navy football game held on that Saturday every year.

 Not only would Philly cops not be able to take the day off, but they would have to work extra-long shifts dealing with the additional crowds and traffic. Shoplifters would also take advantage of the mayhem in stores to make off with merchandise, adding to the law enforcement headache.

About 10 years later, Black Friday was used by Philadelphia traffic cops to describe the day after Thanksgiving because they had to work long hours in terrible traffic. The term caught on among shoppers and merchants as earlier stated and gradually became popular nationwide.


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