It's a pity that they can take something so heinous and pull the wool over our eyes, obfuscating the genuine meaning of what you're commemorating. Back in the days of slavery, African-American slaves would prepare a delicious Thanksgiving turkey dinner for their masters and entertain them all night. They would force the slaves to entertain their friends and family, who would then vote on who was the best and worst entertainer. The losers were then auctioned off the next day, dubbed 'Black Friday.'
The potential slave buyers were aware that an auction would be held the day after Thanksgiving, so they prepared for the event. They'd get up early in the morning and head to the auction site, hoping to be the first in line. Hundreds of people would show up, hoping to be the first to buy the slaves for sale. This was the one day of the year when the price of slaves was significantly decreased. Slave buyers would travel long distances for a "great bargain" during the annual Thanksgiving slave auction. (I've bolded it).
The phrase "Black Friday" was initially used in reference to a financial crisis, notably the crash of the US gold market on September 24, 1869, rather than holiday shopping. Jay Gould and Jim Fisk, two infamously vicious Wall Street businessmen, collaborated to buy up as much gold as they could, aiming to inflate the price and sell it for astronomical profits. The conspiracy ultimately came to light on that Friday in September, throwing the stock market into freefall and bankrupting everyone from Wall Street billionaires to farmers.
The most frequent explanation for the post-Thanksgiving shopping phenomenon known as Black Friday involves retailers. According to the narrative, after a year of running at a loss ("in the red"), retailers would allegedly make a profit ("got into the black") on the day after Thanksgiving because holiday consumers spent so much money on reduced items. Though it's true that retailers used to record losses in red and revenues in black when accounting, this version of Black Friday's beginnings is the officially sanctioned—but incorrect—story behind the tradition.
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