The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

A Lighter Shade Of Black

Jim Clayton-Quill Reporter

Black Friday is the name the Philadelphia Police Department gave the Friday following Thanksgiving in 1965.

It was not a term of endearment. It was meant to be a term of frustration over all the traffic jams and the unusually heavy pedestrian traffic in downtown Philadelphia.

When the descriptor black is used to describe an event or experience it is generally intended to evoke a negative response or connotation.

Mourners wear black to funerals. A black cat crossing one's path is believed to be unlucky.

The Wicked Witch of the West wore black, as do most witches.

As the majority of folk leave Thanksgiving and looks forward to Christmas, black is not the color they typically associate with the holiday season.

Usually it's the colors of fall and the red and green of Christmas that colors our palette, but it is rare to see a black Christmas tree or wrapping paper.

The human race has a knack for naming things - and naming them accurately. And, if black is used to describe an event, most know that the event will likely be one they do not want to experience.

The classic example is Black Monday which marked the day the stock market crashed on October 28, 1929.

As a matter of fact the next day, October 29, 1929, is often referred to as Black Tuesday.

As far back as the 14th Century the Bubonic Plague or the Black Plague, also called the Black Death, swept Asia, India and Europe and was responsible for up to 75 million deaths. There is even a popular best seller called Black Sunday by Thomas Harris in which a terrorist attack takes place at the Super Bowl.

Many call the day after Thanksgiving, Black Friday.

Although not as ominous as the Bubonic Plague or the stock market crash, it does have an ominous sense of dread.

Black Friday 2008 was, in fact, black, as the death of a Wal-Mart employee was reported in Valley Stream, New York. The worker was crushed when a glass door collapsed behind the press of the crowd just before the five-o-clock opening time. There was also a report of two patrons of a Toys "R' Us in Palm Desert, CA who shot each other during an argument over an item in the store.

It may prove difficult to put a positive spin on Black Friday for many of the homeless and needy of our country (even though early reports are that crowds were healthy, but they were spending cautiously according to Toys "R' Us and Macy's).

It would be equally as difficult to lighten up the day for those who are suffering in our nation's hospitals or are faced with devastating injuries and illnesses that don't allow them to fully enjoy this time of year.

It could be spun this way - It is a day off for many Americans to enjoy leftovers and time with family and friends.

Black Friday is also the day the Illini West Chargers won the Illinois 3A football title (that would make it blue and orange Friday).

We could simply observe Black Friday as the time we look forward to the celebration of Christmas, and even more time with family and friends.

Many have said that it may be time to rename the Friday after Thanksgiving, as things tend to become what they are beheld to be.

We are only removed one day from our national day of Thanksgiving when the alarm sounds to hit the mall. There have been efforts to change the meaning to have a more retail connotation when in the early 80's it was presented as a term used to represent the fact that retailers would actually be out of the red and into the black (an accounting term).

According to sources at, Black Friday is not the busiest shopping day of the year, but it has reached second a time or two.

The busiest day is the Saturday before Christmas. All the hype surrounding Black Friday may in fact be just that, :hype.

The United States is a country that has been shown to band together in times of great crisis and dilemma.

Maybe Americans should consider that what they have come through and where they are going as a country may depend upon the outlook and ability to take a stand and do the right thing.

For those looking for a better America, it is the time of year for remembering those who are in need, not a time of feeding on their excesses. It is a time of spiritual awareness, not disregard, a time of joy and happiness, not mourning and sorrow.

With this type of attitude, maybe Americans could look at things and see that this really could be celebrated as White Friday, a day of love and concern from the greatest nation in the world.

Or, they could merely go to the bank machine, and head to the mall.