Good Question: How Did Black Friday Get Its Start?

By: Jeff Herndon Email
By: Jeff Herndon Email

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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Last week, a Target employee in Nebraska started protesting the store's plan to open at 11 p.m. on Thanksgiving, one hour before black Friday.

Just how did Black Friday get its start? Is it true there used to be two Black Fridays?

Good questions.

Black Friday started in Philadelphia. Its original meaning was to describe the massive traffic jams and crowds in the streets of Philly on the first Friday after Thanksgiving.

Of course, the context later changed to describe the day most retailers started to make money, going from the red to the black.

Last week, Target employee Anthony Hardwick started a protest of the store's plan to open Thanksgiving night. Seventy-two years ago, Hardwick may have been leading two protests instead of one.

In the midst of the Great Depression, retailers wanted a longer Christmas shopping season. At the time, it was considered "not right" to advertise Christmas deals before Thanksgiving, so President Franklin D. Roosevelt, wanting to give retailers more time to make some holiday cash, moved Thanksgiving up one week to the fourth Thursday of November.

Some people were upset and refused to change. This resulted in some celebrating Thanksgiving twice and, thus, beginning their shopping on the first Friday of the second Thanksgiving.

Now, we have just one Black Friday, which is turning into Black Thursday night, much to the dismay of retail workers like Anthony Hardwick.

If you have a Good Question, send it to news@kake.com. I'll do my best to answer your good question every Thursday on KAKE News at 6.


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