Mother Jones digs into the history of Black Friday, finding the term spawned from one of nature's most powerful forces: Philadelphians complaining about stuff. The name popped up a few times over the decades before becoming something for retailers to make SHOPPERS BE CRAZY commercials about, appearing to first escape Philly via a New York Times story on the 1975 Army-Navy Game.â†µ
So as recently as 1985 it wasn't in common use nationwide. It was only in common use in Philadelphia. But why? If we go back to 1975, the New York Times informs us that it has something to do with the Army-Navy game. The gist of the story is that crowds used to pour into Philadelphia on the Friday after Thanksgiving to shop, they'd stay over to watch the game on Saturday, and then go home. It was the huge crowds that gave the day its bleak name.â†µ
Army's nickname is, of course, the Black Knights. So there's that, too.