Singer, Toni Braxton, was recently blasted by myth-busters and urban legend debunkers when she stated she would not shop on Black Friday. Braxton mentioned that the origins of the expression Black Friday came from the days of slave auctions — days when auctioneers would sell slaves at a discount.
Thank you to this Hollywood writer for sending us on the right path to truth — click to read his quick bio — he is a smart guy – –> Dave Matt
Her claim was quickly dismissed by whomever it is that dismisses or debunks certain things, and it was quickly pointed out (incorrectly) that the term Black Friday actually started in the 1960s when police began referring to mad traffic jams on the day after Thanksgiving and it had nothing to do with the slave trade.
Well guess what? TONI BRAXTON IS RIGHT! The term Black Friday started in the slave trade and was again brought back into use in the 1930s and 40s when white merchants demanded a cut of black merchants weekly receipts — and historians know it. Why is it being denied?
The term Black Friday was used during the slave trade to describe Friday afternoons in Port Au Prince, Haiti and Havana, Cuba as far back as the 16th century. These were days when large amounts of slaves who had gone unsold were given one last chance on the auction block before the ships departed for Louisiana.
“It was thought to be too expensive to keep slaves around who were injured or sick or old and they had these sales in the two major ports that were used to unload slaves at very cheap prices,” said historian “Raymond Totondi” — a physician and research genealogist who works at the Skylight Institute for Historical Enlightenment in Bern, Switzerland.
“People with less money that the average slave owner would converge on these sales and the streets would be crowded to overflowing. Most people could not afford to buy slaves but an average person would take a chance for $60.00 in silver for a slave who could not walk or was lame, and use him as a shoe repairman or a to operate a sewing machine or a loom. Many old women were used as housekeepers and maids by white families of modest means as a way to boost their status in the community. ”
“There was no way they would ship these people back to Africa or to other parts of the Caribbean, so they reserved Fridays –usually the last Friday of the month — for selling this kind of overstock in human trade. The problem was that so many people were seeking bargains that most of the slaves who were being sold went for more than market value.”
“Even still, the market place was so crowded with onlookers and bargain hunters that local businesses thrived. It was then decided to have these Black Friday sales once a month and each slave would actually be bought by a fake bidder. It became a big ruse and continued for nearly 60 years.
“The real intention was to drive people to the market place to drive up the local economy. When the sale of these fake slaves was over and the local merchants counted out their daily earnings for goods, they had to give 20% of their profits to the slave sales company. Handing this money over to the slave traders angered the local merchants and they too started to call these days Black Friday because they felt that they were being robbed by the slave traders. They said the salve traders had black hands — hands tarnished by coins and always held out demanding their cut. Later, the term Black Hand traveled to Italy where it was used to describe extortion or protection rackets.”
So there you have it, folks. Toni Braxton’s story is NOT an urban legend. Of course a lot of big business wants you to think it’s all an urban legend, but it is not.
According to another historian, the term Black Friday entered back into the language during the Great Depression when black owned shops and poultry farmers in the south started having to pay “protection” money to merchants with bigger businesses. Most of the small businesses were owned by Blacks and they had to hand a certain amount of money over to the local white merchants so they could stay in business. They were warned that it would be a “Black Friday” if they didn’t pay.
Toni Brxton — you were right !