Saturday, November 24

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No, the history of Black Friday is not related to slavery

by Staff writer



The history of Black Friday, a day most stores offer very mouth-watering discounts to their customers, has been mired in controversy for a long time.

There have been many rumors that the unofficial retail holiday got its name from a day in the past when slave dealers would offer slaves to be bought at a discount by plantation owners.


This chilling claim has led many, including top celebrities, to advocate for the boycott of the Black Friday event.

But, however unsettling the rumor might be, it most likely has no basis in fact.

According to History.com, the first recorded use of the term “Black Friday” was applied not to holiday shopping but to financial crisis: specifically, the crash of the U.S. gold market on September 24, 1869.

As the story goes:

"Two notoriously ruthless Wall Street financiers, Jay Gould and Jim Fisk, worked together to buy up as much as they could of the nation’s gold, hoping to drive the price sky-high and sell it for astonishing profits.

"On that Friday in September, the conspiracy finally unraveled, sending the stock market into free-fall and bankrupting everyone from Wall Street barons to farmers."

There are other known stories about the origins of the retail holiday, some of them differing according to region, but neither gives strong evidence that Black Friday is linked to slave trade.

The BBC also argues that the first documented use of the phrase comes a long time after slave trade was abolished in the US, and so "it makes it unlikely that the term originated then."

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