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The history behind Black Friday
When shops in the US recorded their accounting details by hand, they noted profits in black and losses in red.
It is thought that many shops were "in the red" throughout most of the year but they later "went into the black" the day after Thanksgiving, when shoppers bought a significant amount of discounted merchandise.
In more recent years, an inaccurate rumour circulated, suggesting that Southern plantation owners could buy slaves at a discounted price following Thanksgiving in the 1800s.
- Peter Hemmings