Q&A on the News

Q: How did Black Friday get its name?

—Evan Langley, Jonesboro

A: There’s a 1951 reference that described Black Friday as the day employees would call in sick so they could have a long Thanksgiving break, Snopes.com found, but the term as we know it gained popularity from the Philadelphia Police Department.

In the late 1950s or early 1960s, officers in Philadelphia began referring to the day after Thanksgiving as Black Friday because of the heavy downtown traffic caused by shoppers and football fans who were in town for the annual Army-Navy football game.

“The stores were just too crowded, the streets were crowded, the buses and the police were just on overcall and extra duty,” retail expert Michael Lisicky told CBS Philly in 2011.

Many sources discredit the origin of the term as being named for the day when retailers go from being in the red to the black, or profitable.

Q: I would like to know what happened to Greta Van Susteren. We miss her greatly and would like to read what happened to her.

—Jane Lawless Douglasville

A: A clause in Susteren’s contract allowed her to leave Fox News in September.

She had been the host of “On the Record” since 2002.

“Fox has not felt like home to me for a few years and I took advantage of the clause in my contract which allows me to leave now,” she wrote on her Facebook page in September.

Later that month, she posted a video in which she states she’s working on two books, speaking and traveling.

She’s posted videos to her Facebook page (facebook.com/greta/) this month of visits to Cambodia, Myanmar and Jordan.

Andy Johnston with Fast Copy News Service wrote this column. Do you have a question? We’ll try to get the answer. Call 404-222-2002 or email q&a@ajc.com (include name, phone and city).

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