In recent years, another myth has surfaced that gives a particularly ugly twist to the tradition, claiming that back in the 1800s Southern plantation owners could buy slaves at a discount on the day after Thanksgiving.
Though this version of Black Friday’s roots has understandably led some to call for a boycott of the retail holiday, it has no basis in fact.
Will the dating of the volcanic eruption of Santorini remain an unsolved mystery?
The question whether this natural disaster occurred 3,500 or 3,600 years ago is of great historiographical importance and has indeed at times been the subject of heated discussion among experts.
After investigating tree rings, scientists have concluded that the volcano erupted in the 16th century BC, rather than any earlier than that.
The term didn’t spread to the rest of the country until much later, however, and as recently as 1985 it wasn’t in common use nationwide.(In fact, stores traditionally see bigger sales on the Saturday before Christmas.) The Black Friday story stuck, and pretty soon the term’s darker roots in Philadelphia were largely forgotten.Since then, the one-day sales bonanza has morphed into a four-day event, and spawned other “retail holidays” such as Small Business Saturday/Sunday and Cyber Monday.This unreliability alone makes precisely dating a piece of wood from the period of the eruption seem unrealistic.Furthermore, the same amount of carbon isotope (C) in a given sample can quite easily result in different dating results when comparing it with the reference curve, whereas only precisely dated tree rings would allow the age of the tree to be correctly determined.