I don’t know how many of you knew the history of Black Friday; but I didn’t so here goes.

History of Black Friday started much earlier than people think. The day after Thanksgiving was the unofficial beginning of the Christmas season since the late 19th century. President Lincoln designated the Thanksgiving holiday as the last Thursday in November.

Black Friday itself was originally used to describe something else entirely — the Sept. 24, 1864, stock-market panic set off by plunging gold prices. Newspapers in Philadelphia reappropriated the phrase in the late 1960s, using it to describe the rush of crowds at stores. The justification came later, tied to accounting balance sheets where black ink would represent a profit. Many see Black Friday as the day retailers go into the black or show a profit for the first time in a given year. The term stuck and spread, and by the 1990s Black Friday became an unofficial retail holiday nationwide. Since 2002, Black Friday has been the season’s biggest shopping day each year except 2004, according to market-research firm ShopperTrak.

The day after Thanksgiving wasn’t called Black Friday then. The name was associated with September 24, 1869. Two speculators, Jay Gould and James Fisk, created a boom-and-bust in gold prices. A stock market crash followed, as prices fell 20 percent. The disruption in gold prices sent commodity prices plummeting 50 percent. Corruption in Tammany Hall allowed Gould and Fisk to escape without punishment.

Canadian department store Eaton’s began the first Thanksgiving Day parade in 1905 by bringing Santa on a wagon through the streets of downtown Toronto. In 1913, eight live reindeer pulled Santa’s “sleigh.” By 1916, seven floats representing nursery rhyme characters joined Santa in the parade. 

The Eaton’s parade inspired Macy’s Department Store to launch its famous Thanksgiving Day parade in New York City in 1924. Macy’s wanted to celebrate its success during the Roaring 20s. The parade boosted shopping for the following day. Retailers had a gentleman’s agreement to wait until then before advertising holiday sales. 

In 1939, during the Great Depression, Thanksgiving happened to fall during the fifth week of November. Retailers warned they would go bankrupt because the holiday shopping season was too short. They petitioned President Franklin D. Roosevelt to move the Thanksgiving holiday up to the fourth Thursday.

Unfortunately, by this time it was late October. Most people had already made their plans. Some were so upset that they called the holiday “Franksgiving” instead. Only 32 states followed FDR’s move. Others celebrated two holidays, which forced some companies to give their employees an extra day off.

In 1941, Congress ended the confusion. It passed a law that made Thanksgiving the fourth Thursday in November no matter what. 

By the 1950s, people began calling in sick the day after Thanksgiving, essentially giving themselves a four-day weekend. Since stores were open, as were most businesses, those playing hooky could also get a head start on their holiday shopping. That’s as long as the boss didn’t see them. Rather than try to determine whose pay should be cut, and who was legitimately sick, many businesses started adding that day as another paid holiday. 

Sometime in 1966, the Black Friday name became famous in print. That’s when a story appeared in an ad in The American Philatelist, a stamp collectors’ magazine.  The Philadelphia Police Department used the name to describe the traffic jams and crowding in the downtown stores. 

In 2014, an internet meme created a myth about Black Friday and slaves. It falsely claimed slave traders gave discounts at auctions on the day after Thanksgiving. 

Well there you have it….I hope you enjoyed this information.

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