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The History of Black Friday
From the Slave Trade to the Biggest Shopping Day
Black Friday is known as the biggest shopping day of the year, with people rushing to stores and online retailers for discounted items. But few are aware of the dark history behind this popular event.
Its historical roots interlacing with the slave trade of the 1800s, the collapse of the gold market in 1869, and the shopping event of 1961.
The connection to the Slave Trade
In the early 19th century, the phrase "Black Friday" was first associated with the detestable slave trade. The day following Thanksgiving was known as day when enslaved individuals were sold at lower prices, letting plantation owners to generate more profits before the beginning of winter. This horrific practice was perceived as a method to stimulate the economy and increase sales for those involved in the slave trade.
The collapse of the Gold Market in 1869
The next significant event that shaped the history of Black Friday was the collapse of the gold market in 1869. On September 24th, a group of speculators attempted to block the gold market, causing its value to skyrocket. However, the prices dropped when the government stepped in and started selling its reserves. It led to a stock market crash and panic among investors. This event marked the start of the term "Black Friday" being used to describe financial crises and disasters.
Shopping Hysteria of 1951
In more recent history, Black Friday has been associated with a specific event that took place in Philadelphia, USA in 1951. Police officers were overwhelmed by large crowds and traffic chaos caused by shoppers hoping to take advantage of the post-Thanksgiving deals. The term "Black Friday" was used by the police to describe the chaos and inconvenience caused by this event.
In the 1980s, retailers in America started to capitalize on the term "Black Friday" by offering huge discounts and sales on this day. This marked the transition of Black Friday from a negative term associated with disasters and chaos, to a positive one linked with shopping bargains.
As the tradition spread globally, countries like the UK adopted this trend, leading to Black Friday becoming an international phenomenon